Daniel Eugene “Diamond Dan” Bifield, pictured above, agreed to spend the rest of his life in prison today in return for a lighter sentence for his wife Lisa. The Bifield’s agreed to the deal on December 27. Portions of the agreement were not memorialized in writing and the prosecutors and Judge Cameron McGowan Currie kept their words.
One element of that oral agreement was that Judge Currie would “grant Defendant Dan Bifield’s request for his Plea Agreement not to be filed under seal.” The only other defendant mentioned in the plea deal is Lisa Bifield. The written deal contains no statement of facts.
According to multiple sources speaking on condition of anonymity during the last week Dan Bifield will be sentenced to 20 years in prison and Lisa Bifield will be sentenced to three years. The couple will be sentenced in back to back hearings on March 27.
Bifield is 61-years-old. His incarceration since last June has been marked by numerous instances of alleged abuse. He has lost at least 30 pounds since his arrest and when he appeared in court today his beard had grown longer and whiter.
Quid Pro Quo
The South Carolina federal racketeering case, officially titled U.S. versus Bifield et al., is unusual in that prosecutors effectively held the wives of some defendants hostage in order to coerce those defendants to plead guilty. Defendant Bruce James Long and his wife Somying Anderson have both declined plea deals.
Bifield was blatantly coerced into taking his deal. He has spoken often and openly about his love for his wife and his distress over her incarceration and their separation. One passage of the written agreement says: “…the United States further agrees to permit Co-Defendant Lisa Ellen Bifield to plead guilty to Count 47, charging possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime or a crime of violence, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c).”
Bifield agreed to an analogous deal in 1997 when he took full responsibility for a tax scheme that mostly benefitted his then wife. The wife card was part of the government’s strategy to get Bifield when the investigation of the Rock Hill, South Carolina Hells Angels and Red Devils began more than two years ago.
The government intends to take any assets the couple may have acquired since Dan Bifield was released from prison in 2008. The plea agreement states:
“The Defendant agrees to provide detailed financial information to the United States Probation Office prior to sentencing. The Defendant further agrees to enter into the Bureau of Prisons Inmate Financial Responsibility Program if sentenced to a term of incarceration with an unsatisfied monetary penalty. The Defendant further understands that any monetary penalty imposed is not dischargeable in bankruptcy.”
“The Defendant agrees to voluntarily surrender to, and not to contest the forfeiture by, the United States of America of any and all assets and property, or portions thereof, owned or purchased by the Defendant which are subject to the forfeiture pursuant to any provision of law and which are in the possession or control of the Defendant or Defendant’s nominees. The Defendant further agrees to prevent the disbursement, relocation or encumbrance of any such assets and agrees to fully assist the government in the recovery and return to the United States of any assets, or portions thereof, as described above, wherever located. The Defendant further agrees -to make a full and complete disclosure of all assets over which Defendant exercises control and those which are held or controlled by nominees. The Defendant further agrees to submit to a polygraph examination on the issue of assets if it is deemed necessary by the United States. The Defendant agrees to forfeit all interests in the properties as described above and to take whatever steps are necessary to pass clear title to the United States. These steps include, but are not limited to, the surrender of title and the signing of any other documents necessary to effectuate such transfers. The Defendant agrees not to object to any civil forfeiture proceedings brought against these properties pursuant to any provision of law and the Defendant further understands that any such civil proceedings may properly be brought at any time….”
Abandon All Hope
The written plea agreement also states:
“The Defendant is aware that 18 U.S.C. § 3742 and 28 U.S.C. § 2255 afford every defendant certain rights to contest a conviction and or sentence. Acknowledging those rights, the Defendant, in exchange for the concessions made by the Government in this Plea Agreement, (by which the government means the concession not to lock up his wife and throw away the key) waives the right to contest either the conviction or the sentence in any direct appeal or other post-conviction action, including any proceedings under 28 U.S.C. §’2255. This waiver does not apply to claims of ineffective assistance of counselor prosecutorial misconduct. This Agreement does not affect the rights or obligations of the Government as set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3742(b). Nor does it limit the Government in its comments in or responses to any post-sentencing matters.”
“The Defendant waives all rights, whether asserted directly or by a representative, to request or receive from any department or agency of the United States any records pertaining to the investigation or prosecution of this case, including without limitation any records that may be sought under the Freedom of Information Act….”