A veteran deputy U.S. Marshal pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court to demanding and receiving $400 in bribes from two eviction service companies to help them carry out court-ordered evictions.
The deputy, Jacob O. Withers, 59, of 2819 R St. SE, who has been with the marshal's service for more than 10 years, told U.S. District Court Judge Thomas A. Flannery that he received the money from Boris A. Jackerson, owner of the Metro Eviction Co. in Cheverly, and Tracy H. Harding, owner of the Gremco Eviction Co. in Landover, in exchange for helping the companies by scheduling extra evictions for them.
Withers is the first deputy to plead guilty in an ongoing investigation into alleged payoffs by companies to a few deputy marshals, according to assistant U.S. Attorney Robert R. Chapman. Both Jackerson and Harding have pleaded guilty to paying the bribes. Chapman said in court that if the case against Withers had gone to trial he could show that a third company, W & F Eviction Co. of Northeast Washington, also paid Withers a $20 bribe. That company is run by Wilson Fisher, who has also pleaded guilty in connection with that allegation.
As part of the plea agreement, in which Withers pleaded guilty to accepting illegal gratuities, Withers agreed to cooperate with investigators and to testify at any trials that might result from the investigation.
Withers was placed on administrative leave last September. Marshal's Service officials said yesterday that in light of his guilty plea, steps would be taken to fire him.
Flannery scheduled an April 15 sentencing for Withers, who faces two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.