A federal judge’s unusual sentence means a Clovis couple convicted of bilking the government of more than $6.4 million must write a letter admitting their crimes and have it published in the Clovis News Journal.
Chief U.S. District Court Judge Fred Biery handed the sentence down Friday in San Antonio, Texas, to Donald Dean Brewer and his wife, Sherri Lynn Brewer, both 64, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
According to the San Antonio newspaper, Biery said, “There has not been a full and forthcoming acceptance of responsibility. There’s been minimization. You are going to write a letter to be published in the Clovis newspaper. …It better be a real strong confessional. It better say, ‘I am a liar. I am a thief. I betrayed my friends. I betrayed the United States.’”
Biery noted it was an unusual sentence and probably illegal under federal statute. The Brewers’ lawyers, Terree Bowers and John Convery, said they would have to confer with their clients regarding any appeal, the paper reported.
The judge also sentenced the Brewers to five years probation on each count of conviction, including 12 counts wire fraud and four counts major fraud. They were also ordered to pay restitution.
A federal jury convicted the Brewers along with, James McKinney, on April 24.
An accomplice, retired Air Force Col. Sidney Brandler, pleaded guilty to not reporting illegal conduct before the trial and testified against the others.
The Brewers didn’t respond to attempts to speak to them at their Colonial Park home, now listed for sale. Bowers and Convery also weren’t available for comment.
CNJ Publisher Ray Sullivan said if the Brewers submit a letter as ordered, it will be treated as all letters to the editor are treated. He said such letters usually have a 300-word limit, but the newspaper may make an exception in this case. He also said the letter will be subject to editing.
Sullivan, an editor and publisher since the 1970s, noted he has never encountered such an unusual sentencing in his career.
Federal Judge gives Clovis couple unusual sentence