Prisoners Copyright Their Names Then Sue Prison Officials

By Karen Kosko

First posted on 07-18-2007

Four federal inmates made, well, at least some creative use of their time in a penitentiary in Oklahoma.

An indictment alleges that Russell Dean Landers, Clayton Heath Albers, Carl Ervin Batts and Barry Dean Bischof concocted a scheme to copyright their names then demanded millions of dollars from prison officials along with their freedom from jail.

According to the indictment, the four men sent payment notices to the warden of the El Reno federal prison and filed liens against his property. They even went as far as hiring someone on the outside to seize the warden’s vehicles, seize his bank accounts and change the locks at his house.

The inmates told the warden they would not release his property until they were released from prison.

Unfortunately for the four prisoners, the man they hired was an undercover FBI agent.

Those four along with another man, Michael Roberson of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were indicted on charges of conspiring to impede the duties of federal prison officials and mailing threatening communications with the intent to extort. Roberson is accused of aiding the other four in the plot.

The conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of 6 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The mail extortion charge can earn the men up to 10 years in prison plus a $250,000 fine.