Caddo Parish Commissioner pleads not guilty to filing false tax returns

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SHREVEPORT, La (KTAL/KMSS) – Caddo Parish Commissioner Lynn Cawthorne today entered a plea of not guilty of two counts against him that involve filing false tax returns.

Wednesday afternoon, Cawthorne appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark L. Hornsby to be arraigned on the tax charges.

Cawthorne was released on bond and is prohibited from international travel.

In December, a federal grand jury indicted Cawthorne, charging him with aiding and assisting in making and subscribing a false return in 2013 and 2014.

If convicted, Cawthorne faces up to three years in prison, a $100,000 fine and one year of supervised release for each count.

Judge Hornsby says Cawthorne’s trial for wire fraud will begin February 3rd, with the pre-trial conference is set for January 16th.

In April 2018, Cawthorne and his sister were indicted for stealing more than $536,000 from a program meant to supply meals to children during the summer.

In that case, a federal grand jury returned an eight-count indictment charging them with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and seven counts of wire fraud.

Then, ten months later, on Feb. 28, 2019, additional charges were brought against the two adding 18 counts of money laundering-related charges.

Cawthorne and his sister operated United Citizens and Neighborhoods (UCAN), as president and director, respectively. UCAN was a non-profit corporation that participated in the Summer Feeding Service Program (SFSP), which is administered by the Louisiana Department of Education Division of Nutrition Support. The SFSP was established to ensure that children in low-income areas continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session during the summer.

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