A Washington federal judge sentenced a man yesterday to serve five years in prison for deceiving one of the judge's colleagues on the bench.
David Copeland-Jackson, 40, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and perjury in February 2011. After filing a defamation lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in 2007, he admitted to filing a false affidavit that he had served the defendant and then filing court documents in the defendant's name. He won a $3 million default judgment from U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle, which was vacated after she learned of the fraud.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon sentenced Copeland-Jackson yesterday. The sentence also covered Copeland-Jackson's guilty plea in a separate case for mail fraud.
Copeland-Jackson's lawyer, Stephen Brennwald of Washington's Brennwald & Robertson, could not immediately be reached for comment this morning. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, William Miller, declined to comment.
According to the statement of offense (PDF) filed as part of his guilty plea, Copeland-Jackson, who also went by the name Xavier Justice, pleaded guilty in 2000 in Ohio to gross sexual imposition involving two minor boys who attended a school where he was a teacher. After he was released from prison in 2003, he was sent back to D.C. to serve parole.
In June 2007, he sued one of the minor victims from the Ohio case, referred to as J.C., in D.C. federal court for defamation. With the help of a co-conspirator, Copeland-Jackson filed a false affidavit stating that J.C. was served with the complaint. Using a copy of J.C.'s signature, according to court documents, Copeland-Jackson filed statements under J.C.'s name. He never revealed his past conviction.
In August 2007, according to the U.S. attorney's office, Huvelle entered a $3 million default judgment in Copeland-Jackson's favor. Soon after the award, however, Ohio officials alerted Huvelle that Copeland-Jackson was still on parole for the 2000 conviction, at which point she vacated the judgment. He was arrested and charged with the conspiracy in July 2009.
Copeland-Jackson also pleaded guilty to committing mail fraud from 2005 to 2009. He was accused of enrolling relatives and former inmates in online college courses and then keeping student aid checks totaling $62,440. As part of his sentence, he'll have to pay back those funds.
"These schemes required substantial planning, a skillful ability to fabricate false documents, and a willful desire to trick and deceive others in order to successfully advance the defendant’s illegal goals," Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Haray wrote in the government's sentencing memorandum (PDF). "Accordingly, this case calls for a significant punishment."
According to the U.S. attorney's office, Copeland-Jackson will be credited for the 42 months he already spent in jail.