Two federal correctional officers were charged with “making false records and conspiring to make false records and to defraud the United States” in connection to Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide, a press release obtained by In Touch confirmed.
Officers Tova Noel and Michael Thomas allegedly created records falsely stating they completed the requested checks of inmates at Metropolitan Correctional Center (“MCC”) in the special housing unit on the night Epstein committed suicide, when those tasks were not done.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in the press release: “As alleged, the defendants had a duty to ensure the safety and security of federal inmates in their care at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Instead, they repeatedly failed to conduct mandated checks on inmates, and lied on official forms to hide their dereliction.” Noel, 31, and Thomas, 41, surrendered on November 19.
According to the press release, on August 10, 2019, Noel and Thomas “repeatedly failed to complete mandated counts of prisoners under their watch in the MCC’s Special Housing Unit (“SHU”).” The duo instead “sat at their desk, browsed the internet, and moved around the common area of the SHU” for “substantial” parts of their shifts.
In an apparent attempt to hide the fact that they had not performed their duties, Thomas and Noel signed false certifications that said they had “conducted multiple counts of inmates,” which they did not actually do. MCC, therefore, thought prisoners in the SHU were being monitored, but in reality, “no correctional officer conducted any count or round of the SHU from approximately 10:30 p.m. on August 9 until approximately 6:30 a.m. on August 10.”
That’s when Noel and Thomas found Epstein’s body — far too late, because the disgraced financier had committed suicide overnight while no one was observing him.
In July 2019, Epstein was arrested and indicted for sex trafficking of underage girls. According to the indictment, he was accused of sexually exploiting and abusing “dozens of minor girls at his homes in Manhattan, New York, and Palm Beach, Florida, among other locations.” He pleaded not guilty and potentially faced up to 45 years in prison if he was convicted of the new crimes. But on August 20, 2019, as aforementioned, Epstein was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell.
The press release further reported that — besides two other officers who visited the common area of the SHU for a brief time, according to video surveillance — no one else entered the area and “no one conducted any counts or rounds throughout the night.” Furthermore, no one went to where Epstein was housed in the facility.
Thomas and Noel were each charged with “one count of conspiring to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the MCC, and to make false records,” which can carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Noel was additionally charged with five counts of making false records, while Thomas was also charged with three counts of making false records. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
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