Sunday, 19 April 2015

Clyde Parrish Gets Six Months in Federal Prison

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Posted: Sunday, February 18, 2007 11:11 pm

Athens resident Clyde Thomas Parrish was sentenced to six months in prison in a Monday plea agreement for his role in a wire fraud scheme.

Parrish, 56, was sentenced for a charge of misprision of a felony in the Tyler federal court of U.S. District Judge Michael Schneider. He was indicted May 10, 2005, and pleaded guilty to the charge July 7, 2006, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith Guthrie.

Misprision of a felony means not reporting a known felony to authorities. The charge carries a punishment of up to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.

Parrish was ordered Monday to pay a $2,000 fine in addition to serving his prison sentence. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Jackson, the lead prosecutor in the case, said he thinks the punishment was suitable for a plea agreement.

“I think it was an appropriate sentence, given all the circumstances,” Jackson said.

Parrish’s charge stemmed from several incidents between 2002 and 2003 in which his wife, Julia — an Irish immigrant and a former active member of the Athens community — defrauded several investors in a real estate scam. Mrs. Parrish encouraged people to invest money in land in Ireland that she claimed was hers, but which she did not actually own.

She pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud on Oct. 12, 2005, and was later sentenced to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of more than $500,000.

In order to pay restitution, she forfeited many of her personal possessions — including two cars, 48 acres of land in Henderson County, two bank accounts and a chair from the Texas Senate purchased at a Cattle Barons’ Gala.

“We’ve ordered the forfeiture of much of the property for sale to pay the restitution,” Jackson said.

Mrs. Parrish was released from prison on June 29, 2006.

Parrish was aware of Julia’s activities before July 14, 2004, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

He later provided false information to the authorities about his wife’s scam.

Among the scam’s victims was former Athens physician Dennis Rose, who lost $392,000. Mrs. Parrish contacted Rose by e-mail in the course of the scam, thereby committing wire fraud — a federal offense carrying a sentence of up to 25 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $500,000.

Rose, who moved his practice from Athens to Port Arthur in May 2004 — largely due to his experience with the scam — said he was in the courtroom the day of Parrish’s sentencing.

“To give an honest answer, no,” Rose said when asked if he thinks Mr. Parrish received a fair sentence. “He’s a criminal, and he deserves to go to jail for a lot longer than six months.

“It’s not commiserate with the crime or with his amount of involvement in the crime.”

Rose said he was convinced that Mr. Parrish “masterminded” the scam, while Mrs. Parrish only served as a front.

“He’s a clever guy,” Rose said. “He was indicted on 19 counts. He pleaded guilty to the one that ... had the lightest sentence and allowed him the most wiggle room.

“He’s not an innocent man.”

He added that he doesn’t hold out much hope of recovering his money.

“I live in the real world, and I’ll never see a dime back from (Julia) on this,” he said. “I was told that the money (from her sold possessions) would be dispersed among the victims, so I suppose I was sort of promised restitution.”

Parrish has been ordered to voluntarily surrender to authorities in April to begin his prison sentence.

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