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More charges against Caddo Parish official accused of stealing from children's meal program

An earlier indictment accused Cawthorne and his sister, Belena Turner, of stealing $536,000 from a program meant to provide children's meals.
Credit: WWL-TV

SHREVEPORT, La. — A federal grand jury in Louisiana has brought more charges against a local government official who was re-elected in spite of an earlier indictment.

The latest indictment accuses 52-year-old Lynn Cawthorne of Shreveport of falsifying information given to the accountant who filled out his income tax returns in 2013 and 2014, U.S. Attorney David Joseph said in a news release Friday.

Neither Cawthorne nor attorney J. Ransdell Keene responded immediately to phone calls and emails requesting comment about the Wednesday indictment.

An earlier indictment accused Cawthorne and his sister, Belena Turner, of stealing $536,000 from a program meant to provide children's meals during the summer from 2011 through 2014. An indictment in April 2018 charged him with conspiracy and seven counts of wire fraud. A superseding indictment in February 2019 added 18 charges related to money laundering.

That indictment alleges that they greatly inflated the number of meals provided by a nonprofit called United Citizens and Neighborhoods and paid their own catering companies for such meals.

Cawthorne was re-elected in October to the Caddo Parish Commission.

The indictment handed up Wednesday charges him with helping to create a false tax return. The indictment alleges he reported adjusted gross income of $7,500 for 2013 and of $9,500 for 2014, and neither figure was accurate.

Cawthorone is scheduled for trial Feb. 3 on the earlier charges.

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