ALEXANDRIA, LA (KALB / KPLC) - Moments before the former warden of the Avoyelles Correctional Center, Nate Cain, was set to listen to his ex-wife, Tonia Bandy Cain, testify against him at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Cain decided to change his plea.
That plea came on day three of his trial, about two hours after another employee who worked in the business office of the prison testified that he made authorized personal purchases for Cain at his request.
Cain was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 17 counts of wire fraud. He pleaded guilty to counts two and three of the amended indictment, which involved fraud charges for the purchase of gun parts from Top Gun Supply and Palmetto State Armory. The other counts are set to be dismissed at his sentencing on June 17.
The government is seeking restitution which carries a maximum of a roughly $150,000 payback. But, Cain’s attorney, John McLindon estimates that Cain only owes about $1,000 for the gun parts. He also faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count, however it’s believed his sentence will run concurrent and could be affected by guideline calculations depending on the money he actually owes back to the State of Louisiana. He could also receive three years of supervised release.
When asked by Judge Dee Drell if he was pleading guilty because he was guilty, Cain replied, "Yes, sir."
Cain will remain out on bond up until his sentencing. He is not allowed to own any guns as part of his status as a convicted felon and he is not allowed to return to his home until weapons are removed from his house.
Cain and his attorney spoke to News Channel 5 after he pleaded guilty.
"The government treated me very fairly and I take responsibility for the two counts I pleaded to and I'm very thankful and happy for what happened," Cain told us.
When asked what he would say to the public who thinks he is getting a good deal because of his last name, Cain had this to say: "I would think that my last name has been far more of a hindrance to me, but I'm proud of it. I'm very proud of it"
Cain also said he’s not in touch with his father, the legendary former warden of Angola, Burl Cain: “I have not communicated with my father.”
McLindon explained why he though the change of plea was good for his client.
"It's pretty much like Nate said, the two counts that he pleaded to, he has accepted responsibility for those counts and they're going to dismiss the remaining 16 counts, including the conspiracy charge," he said. "So, we're actually satisfied with the outcome."
Cain also told News Channel 5 that he will apologize for the counts he pleaded guilty to, "For the two counts I pleaded guilty to, yes I apologize to everyone. I take full responsibility for my actions."
U.S. Attorney for the Western District, David Joseph, spoke with News Channel 5 after the change of plea about how the change came about.
"We were in the midst of trial and I think it was going very well for the government," said Joseph. "My prosecutors were approached by the defense council, John McLindon, and asked whether we'd be admitable to the plea. We didn't really give them anything. We gave them two, 20-year counts of the indictment, each of which has a maximum penalty of 20 years. We don't expect the sentence to exceed that so we felt like it was a fair plea."
Tonia Bandy Cain changed her plea last year. She’ll be sentenced at the federal courthouse on April 12. Jodie Bordelon, Tonia’s friend who also pleaded in the case, will be sentenced on June 21.