- Associated Press - Saturday, October 13, 2018

BEAUMONT, Texas (AP) - A Southeast Texas woman has been sentenced to two years in prison for her role in a scheme in which the families of federal inmates were defrauded of more than $4 million.

Tanya Richard was sentenced Friday during a court hearing in Beaumont after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Prosecutors say the 43-year-old Richard - a federal prison employee - took part in a nationwide scheme in which inmate families paid millions of dollars for reductions in their relatives’ sentences.

The scheme falsely claimed the money would be used to pay for undercover drug transactions, with the inmates then being allowed to ask for reductions for helping authorities.

Prosecutors say the money was instead used for the personal benefit of Richard and others behind the scheme.

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