BEAUMONT (AP) — A federal prison worker in Texas has pleaded guilty to scamming relatives of some inmates by soliciting cash and saying the funds would help get their loved ones released early.

Tanya L. Richard of Beaumont pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The 41-year-old administrative employee of the Federal Correction Complex in Beaumont faces up to 20 years in prison.

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Prosecutors say Richard, who’s been on administrative leave since her April indictment, used her job to obtain confidential information on inmates and draft bogus government cooperation agreements. Relatives were falsely told they could get sentences reduced by paying cash, with the money going to drug-case informants helping the government.

She and other scammers spent the money on themselves.

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Six co-defendants earlier pleaded guilty and were sentenced to prison.


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