Former Parole Agent Sentenced to 27 Months in Prison for Coercing Parolee to Burglarize Drug Dealers’ Houses
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 12, 2011|
PITTSBURGH, PA—A resident of North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania has been sentenced in federal court to 27 months in prison and two years’ supervised release on his conviction of violating the Hobbs Act, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
United States District Judge David S. Cercone imposed the sentence on Paul F. Dschuhan, 46.
According to information presented to the court, Dschuhan was a parole agent who abused his authority by coercing a parolee to burglarize houses of drug dealers. Dschuhan coerced the parolee by threatening to lock up the parolee for fabricated parole violations, and also threatened to kill the parolee if the parolee was cooperating with law enforcement. The events occurred in the Spring of 2010, when the parolee was only a few months away from the end of his supervision. At that time, his regular parole agent became ill and he was transferred to Dschuhan. The two knew each other from years past. After the parolee was repeatedly coerced by Dschuhan to commit a burglary, the parolee contacted a local police officer who in turn put him touch with the FBI. Under the supervision of the FBI, the parolee made several audio recordings of meetings and telephone conversations with Dschuhan, and the FBI surveilled several meetings. The agreement with Dschuhan and the parolee was that the parolee would keep the drugs stolen and Dschuhan would get the stolen money. During one recorded conversation, Dschuhan coached the parolee to use Dschuhan as an alibi in the event that the parolee was arrested for the burglary. During other conversations, Dschuhan suggested additional places to burglarize and went so far as to show the parolee the parole files of another parolees. In the end, one “burglary” took place and about $3,200 was delivered to Dschuhan before he was arrested.
Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Cercone stated, “You threatened to use your power that with a stroke of a pen can send an innocent parolee back to jail. What could be lower than that? ... This could be a movie: a parole officer threatens to kill or send back to jail innocent parolees if they don’t carry-out burglaries for him to profit from ... In my 30 years on the bench, this is one of the worst cases I have ever seen. Your conduct is about as low as it gets.”
Assistant United States Attorney Nelson P. Cohen prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.
U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Paul F. Dschuhan.