ACA.supremecourt.070419

A former supervisor of the Tangipahoa Sheriff's Office Criminal Records Division has pleaded guilty to taking part in a scheme in which she accepted bribes in exchange for fraudulent bonds used for the release of incarcerated people, according to the Eastern District of Louisiana's U.S. Attorney's Office. 

Sonja Dyson Evans, 58, of Ponchatoula, and nearly 15-year employee with the sheriff's department, pleaded guilty to use of an interstate facility with intent to carry on unlawful activity. 

Dyson Evans' guilty plea stems from a 2017 investigation that led to the arrest of 10 people, including three sheriff's office employees. 

Detailed in Dyson Evans' guilty plea is a scheme that took place from January 2016 to January 2017 where she would create fraudulent bonds using the property of unaware third-party individuals as collateral for the bonds and then forging their signatures.

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Dyson Evans worked with Tangipahoa resident Shawanda Dove, who communicated with incarcerated individuals or their families to obtain payment for the fraudulent bonds, according to court records.

Dyson Evans would then exchange the forged bond paperwork with Dove in exchange for money, which Dyson Evans kept or shared with other employees of the criminal records division within the sheriff's office, according to court records.  

Dove then took the forged bond paperwork to the inmate's family member, who used it to obtain the release of their family member, according to court records.

The money received was not recorded within the criminal records division, according to court records, and Dyson Evans' and "other co-conspirators" received at least $31,000 in bribe payments.

Dyson Evans was hired by the sheriff's office in August of 1992 and was placed on administrative leave in early January 2017. She retired from her position in the office Jan. 10, 2017, according to the sheriff's office Chief of Operations James Travis.