November 19, 2019 | 11: 56am
Two federal prison guards were charged Tuesday with falsely claiming to have checked on inmates, including Jeffrey Epstein, in the hours before the notorious pedophile hanged himself in a Lower Manhattan lockup this past summer.
Tova Noel, 31, and Michael Thomas, 41, “repeatedly failed to perform mandated counts of prisoners under their watch” in the Special Housing Unit of the Metropolitan Correctional Center, according to an indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court.
“Instead, for substantial portions of their shift, Noel and Thomas sat at their desk, browsed the internet and moved around the common area of the SHU,” the 19-page indictment alleges.
Noel and Thomas are each charged with one count of conspiracy. Noel is also charged with two counts of filing false reports related to checks that were supposed to be conducted at 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Aug. 9, and she and Thomas are both charged with three additional counts related to checks at midnight and at 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Aug. 10.
Each count carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison.
Noel and Thomas were delivering breakfast to inmates when they found Epstein’s body at around 6: 30 a.m. on Aug. 10 after he hanged himself, according to the indictment.
At the time, the multimillionaire financier was awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges and behind held without bail on the order of a federal judge who said his sexual urges appeared to be “uncontrollable.”
Noel and Thomas are expected to be arraigned later Tuesday.