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Federal inmate pleads guilty to using a cell phone from prison to post to videos to Facebook

The inmate pleaded guilty to using a contraband cell phone to post photographs and videos onto Facebook from his cell in a federal prison in Georgia.

Inmate Brian J. Wilson pleaded guilty to using a contraband cell phone to post photographs and videos onto Facebook from his cell in the U.S. Penitentiary-Atlanta (“USP Atlanta”).

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“Inmates who use a contraband cell phone should ask themselves whether having a cell phone in prison is worth spending more time in prison,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.  “The federal government is committed to limiting the explosion of contraband cell phones in federal prisons.”

“The boldness of this inmate to live stream for the world to see is an example of how widespread contraband cell phones are in our prisons,” said Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, Chris Hacker. “Many times they are used to further criminal activities and can create serious security concerns. That is why the FBI will continue to use every resource available to stop their proliferation.”

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges, and other information presented in court – the USP Atlanta is a medium-security federal prison for male inmates operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The Cell Phone Contraband Act of 2010 made it a crime for Federal inmates to possess or use cell phones while incarcerated.

On March 24, 2015, Wilson was sentenced to ten years of imprisonment after sustaining a conviction for possession of a stolen firearm. Since approximately May 3, 2018, Wilson has been an inmate at USP Atlanta.

As an inmate, Wilson possessed a cell phone in USP Atlanta. Between late-May and July 2019, Wilson used his cell phone to post images to and to live stream content onto the social media platform Facebook from his prison cell. In fact, Wilson posted a “selfie” photograph onto his Facebook account of himself holding a cell phone while in his prison cell.  Ironically, in a live stream video, Wilson warned people that federal cases have significant prison sentences, lamenting that “federal law ain’t playing” because “the United States will lock you … up” if you are convicted of a federal crime.

Prior to his guilty plea, Wilson was scheduled to be released from custody on November 28, 2022.  Under federal law, however, inmates convicted of possessing contraband in prison must receive consecutive (or additional) prison time after their original sentence is completed.

On April 29, 2019, Brian J. Wilson, 32, of Atlanta, was charged via criminal information with possessing a contraband cell phone in prison.

The FBI and the Bureau of Prisons are investigating this case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey W. Davis, Chief of the Public Integrity and Special Matters Section, and Carolyn Cain Burch are prosecuting the case.

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