A federal judge has rejected a letter of apology from a New Mexico couple found guilty of defrauding the U.S. Air Force out of millions.
U.S. District Judge Fred Biery ruled July 22 that Donald Dean Brewer and his wife, Sherri Lynn Brewer, both 64, face federal prison time unless they resubmit a draft of their apology as part of their sentencing, according to court documents filed in San Antonio.
Last month, the judge sentenced the pair to a lifetime of probation. He also took the unusual step of ordering the Brewers to publish a letter in the newspaper of their hometown – Clovis, N.M. – confessing to their crimes.
A jury in April convicted the couple of conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud and major fraud.
Prosecution say the Brewers created a sham subcontracting business in 2003 that provided no useful service but forced overcharges on prime contractors. Authorities say the Brewers and a third person, James McKinney, 61, tainted $33.5 million in contracts by overcharging the Air Force more than $6.4 million between 2002 and 2008.
The judge said in an order that a draft letter from the couple, submitted to him by their lawyers, was ìtotally unacceptable.
ìIf necessary, the Court will refresh defendants’ memories as to the specific evidence of their lies and misdeeds shown by the evidence in the record,î Biery said in court documents.
Biery did not outline specific objections in his order, and his office declined to release a copy of the draft.
If a letter is not approved by the court, warrants will be issued for the Brewers to return to San Antonio for revocation of probation proceedings and federal prison sentencing, the judge wrote.
Clovis News Journal Publisher Ray Sullivan said July 22 he was not aware of any such letter from the Brewers arriving at the newspaper’s office.
According to the filing, the Brewers used the money on vehicles, homes, an airplane and the purchase of the S&S Supermarket in Clovis. Additionally, Sherri Brewer was paid $7,000 per month for retirement with no evidence presented that she ever worked at the store, according to the filing.
Defense attorney John Convery said he and his clients are ìdoing everything we can to comply with the judge’s order, and we appreciate his patience. AP