Female Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Lying to FBI During Southeast Kidnapping Investigation
COLUMBIA, SC—United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that CHASON RENEE CHASE, a/k/a “Lady Jamaica,” a/k/a “Lady J,” age 24, of Columbia, South Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia pled guilty as charged today in federal court. CHASE plead guilty to making a false statement to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) during a kidnapping investigation, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001. United States District Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr. accepted the plea and will impose a sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report, which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that on April 9, 2014, agents with the FBI’s Columbia Violent Gang Task Force received information that CHASE was affiliated with individuals, including North Carolina prisoner and gang member Kenneth Melton, that were involved in a kidnapping investigation stemming from the April 5, 2014, kidnapping of a North Carolina state prosecutor’s father. When FBI agents approached CHASE in Columbia and advised her of the on-going kidnapping investigation, CHASE denied knowing Melton, stated that she did not recognize a photograph of Melton, denied recognizing Melton’s telephone number, denied communicating with any gang members since last year, and denied communicating with Melton. Agents confirmed through phone records that Melton and CHASE had recently been in contact. In fact, after FBI agents arrested Chase and while they were interviewing her that evening, one of CHASE’S cellular phones showed that Melton was frantically attempting to contact her from his jail cell in North Carolina. At this point, the kidnapping victim had not been rescued, so FBI agents immediately forwarded information and documentation seized from CHASE’S residence to FBI agents in North Carolina and Georgia to aid in their attempt to rescue the victim and identify and locate the kidnapping suspects. The investigation showed and CHASE later admitted that she was a member of the Bloods gang and that she kept their membership records and dues. The victim was rescued in Atlanta later that night. The kidnapping investigation is being prosecuted in the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Mr. Nettles stated that CHASE faces a statutory maximum sentence of five (5) years, a fine of $250,000 and a term of supervised release of up to three (3) years following the term of imprisonment.
The case was investigated by the FBI. Assistant United States Attorney Stacey Haynes of the Columbia office handled the case.