Tonia Bandy expected to plead guilty in federal court

Tonia Bandy is expected to plead guilty to federal corruption charges today (July 9) in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.

Bandy and her ex-husband, former state prison warden Nate Cain, are accused of using state credit cards to make personal purchases while they both worked at Raymond Laborde Correctional Center in Cottonport prior to their resignations in May 2016.

Bandy went back to using her maiden name after her divorce from Cain in November.

Her “change of plea” hearing is set for Monday.

Bandy, 43, and Cain, 51, each face one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 17 counts of wire fraud in connection with the alleged misuse of state credit cards to purchase furniture, televisions, guns, ammunition and other items.

While neither defendant had a state credit card in their own name, they allegedly directed other employees with state credit cards to make the purchases for them.

It is expected that Bandy will plead guilty to one or more of the charges with the others to be dismissed.

Such plea deals usually include a requirement that the defendant cooperate with prosecutors against any co-defendants still facing prosecution.

However, neither the court, prosecutors or defense attorneys have verified Bandy will plead guilty or the terms of any plea deal she may or may not have been offered.

In light of the apparent plea deal with his ex-wife, Cain may be pressured to seek a deal as well.

EVALUATING OPTIONS

Attorney John McLindon said he and his client are “evaluating all of our options” but are “anticipating going to trial.”

McLindon said Cain could change his mind and he is “not really sure what’s going to happen yet.”

No trial date has been set.

A federal magistrate recently ruled against Cain and Bandy, refusing to disregard evidence seized in an Office of Inspector General’s search of the “Warden’s Home” on the Cottonport prison grounds after the couple resigned and moved in 2016.

Cain and Bandy also face charges in 12th Judicial District Court in Marksville on state charges related to their alleged activities at the Cottonport prison.

Bandy is accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars in cash from a fund meant to benefit inmates' clubs.

She is charged with malfeasance in office, injuring public records and theft of $25,000 or more.

Cain is charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly interfering with an investigation into a rape at the prison.

That case concerns allegations that a female guard had consensual sex with a male inmate.

Any sexual contact between a prison guard and an inmate under their watch is considered rape, even if both parties consent.

The female guard has denied having an affair with the inmate.

Jury trials for both cases are set for Sept. 17.

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