Federal Prison Employee Guilty of Defrauding Inmate Families

Published 12:52 pm Friday, June 15, 2018

PRESS RELEASE — BEAUMONT, Texas – A 43-year-old Beaumont, Texas woman has pleaded guilty for her part in a conspiracy targeting federal inmates and their families in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown today.

Tanya L. Richard pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith F. Giblin.

According to information presented in court, while employed as an administrative employee of the Federal Correctional Complex in Beaumont, Richard was involved in a wide-spread fraud scheme targeting the families of federal inmates. Six persons, some of whom were former federal inmates, pleaded guilty to a similar charge last year in the same scheme and are currently serving federal prison sentences for their involvement.  The nationwide, six-year scheme defrauded the relatives of federal inmates by falsely representing that they could obtain reductions in their relatives’ sentences in exchange for the payment of cash and wire transfers of funds. The payments were falsely represented to be for the payment for a network of confidential informants who would make undercover drug transactions under the direction of the courts and prosecutors which would allow the incarcerated inmates to ask the court for reductions of sentences for providing substantial assistance to the government under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. In reality, the money was spent for the personal benefit of the defendants and there was never any network of informants or undercover transactions. Federal inmates do not have to pay for substantial assistance motions for reductions of sentences which normally only require information to be provided by such inmates against co-defendants as well as trial testimony.

Richard’s role in the scheme included obtaining confidential information from federal court presentence reports of inmates and drafting false cooperation agreements for inmate families that appeared to be from federal prosecutors and U.S. Attorneys. Richard is a former common-law spouse of Alvin James Warrick who pleaded guilty to a similar charge in the scheme last year. The scheme resulted in losses to inmate families from across the nation of over $4 million dollars. Richard was placed on administrative leave from her position at the federal prison after her indictment in April 2018.

Under federal statutes, Richard faces up to 20 years in federal prison at sentencing.  The maximum statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.  A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General; U.S. Marshals Service; Houston Police Department-Major Offenders Division; U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the Eastern District of Texas and Southern District of Florida. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert L. Rawls.