Former Avoyelles Correctional Center warden pleads guilty fraud charges

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United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced Wednesday that the former warden of the Avoyelles Correctional Center in Cottonport, Louisiana, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell for his scheme to steal more than $150,000 in taxpayer money for his personal benefit.

51-year-old Nathan Burl Cain II, of Moreauville, Louisiana, pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud, according to a press release from the United States Department of Justice. 

A trial started on Monday related to an indictment filed on August 11, 2017 charging Nathan Cain with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 17 counts of wire fraud.

The trial ended Wednesday with his plea to two 20-year counts in the indictment, the release states. 

According to the guilty plea, Nathan Cain conspired with his ex-wife 43-year-old Tonia Bandy Cain, who served as the manager of the business office of the facility to use Louisiana Department of Corrections bank cards to purchase personal items, while misrepresenting that such items were purchased for official business.

The bank cards were used to purchase furniture, pet supplies, toilet paper, gun parts, Christmas decorations, yard tools, tires, a pressure cooker that was given as a gift to a third party, and other items, the release states. 

Additionally, Nathan Cain commissioned the construction of a house on prison grounds for himself and did not bid the construction as required by law.

Instead, purchases for the construction were made on bank cards on separate occasions for supplies and materials.  Nathan Cain structured the purchases so that they would avoid detection by Department of Corrections monitors, the release states. 

“Today’s conviction should serve as a warning to any other public official in Louisiana who intends to use public office to illegally line their own pockets,” Joseph stated.

“Under my watch, the good-old-boy system of fraud and corruption among our public servants will not be tolerated. It will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I want to thank Louisiana Inspector General Stephen Street and the FBI for their hard work and investigating this case. I also want to thank Assistant U.S. Attorneys Luke Walker and David Ayo for their work prosecuting the defendant.”

“Justice was done today,” stated Louisiana Inspector General Stephen Street.  “The manner in which Nate Cain repeatedly and brazenly stole money from Louisiana taxpayers was shocking and showed a staggering sense of entitlement on his part.   Mr. Cain not only abused the considerable powers given to him as Warden, but also blatantly violated the public’s trust and brought shame to the Louisiana Department of Corrections.  This case should send a message in the strongest possible terms that we have zero tolerance for it, and will continue to do everything in our power to bring about severe criminal consequences whenever and wherever there is corruption by Louisiana public officials.”

Nathan Cain faces up to 20 years in prison, five years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine per count and restitution not to exceed $152,364.69. The court set sentencing for June 17, 2019, the release states. 

Tonya Cain pleaded guilty on July 9, 2018 to wire fraud conspiracy. The court set sentencing for April 12, 2019.

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