ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL) – Former BVU executive Stacey Pomrenke and her husband, Kurt, both pleaded guilty to new conspiracy charges after prosecutors say they faked an alcohol addiction to reduce Stacey’s prison sentence.
According to a release from the Department of Justice, both pleaded guilty on Friday to conspiring to defraud the United States while Stacey was on pre-trial release.
Stacy was arrested on October 27, 2015 after an indictment was returned accusing her of violating federal law during an investigation of Bristol Virginia Utilities Authority.
Twice following her arrest, Stacey told probation officers she did not have a history of substance abuse. During one interview, court documents say she referred to herself as a “social drinker.”
Stacey was sentenced to 34 months in federal prison on August 11, 2016.
While in prison, Stacey enrolled in the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP), a treatment program run by the Bureau of Prisons.
DOJ reports eight days after she was arrested, Stacey and Kurt were contacted by Tony Pham, also known as Anh Nguyen.
Nguyen is the operator of RDAP Law Consultants LLC, which is a business that contacts inmates and offers assistance in joining RDAP for a fee.
“For a fee, RDAP Law Consultants coached and advised prospective and current inmates on how to gain admission to RDAP by lying to the Bureau of Prisons about the existence, duration, and extent of a qualifying substance abuse disorder,” the release says.
Stacey agreed to pay the firm $7,500 on August 22, 2016. Nguyen provided coaching in the steps the Pomrenkes would need to take to successfully defraud the program.
The release says the Pomrenkes made it clear to Nguyen that Stacey only drank a glass or two of wine each week and did not actually have an alcohol abuse problem.
Stacey went on to make physician appointments and make false statements about increased drinking in order to be prescribed Ativan, an alcohol withdrawal preventative.
Shortly before her sentence began, Nguyen sent Stacey and email with the subject line “Show Withdrawal Symptoms,” according to court documents.
Nguyen went on to work with the Pomrenkes until Stacey’s sentence began to build “a false, but plausible story of alcohol abuse and the need for treatment.”
Upon her arrival to the prison, Stacey was intoxicated and falsely said she had been drinking at least a bottle of wine a day since 2008.
Based on her false statements and behavior, Stacey was admitted to RDAP on November 2, 2016 and began the program the next month.
She completed the program on September 22, 2017. Her sentence was reduced by seven months and one day as a result.
“Residential Drug Abuse Programs are impactful programs designed to aid inmates dealing with actual, documented addiction disorders. These programs are not a means to simply shorten the sentences of defendants looking to get out of jail early,” Acting United States Attorney Bubar said. “I am thankful to the FBI and IRS-CI for bringing these defendants to justice and working to maintain the important mission of the RDAP programs in our federal penitentiaries.”
Sentence hearings for the couple have been set for January 26, 2021.
Stacey faces 0-30 months in prison and Kurt faces 0-18 months.
To read the full release, click here.