I-Team: Ex-water district employee accused of stealing millions offered plea deal

Local News

A plea deal is in the works for a former water district employee charged with stealing millions of dollars from the district through a purchasing scheme.

The allegations against Jennifer McCain Bray first surfaced in reports by the I-Team in April 2016. McCain was arrested after the story broke and was facing a long time behind bars.

From the beginning it seemed like there wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm for criminal prosecution. After the arrest of JJ McCain, federal authorities said she could be facing 20 years in prison, that is not the sentence she will be offered in a plea hearing next week.

Jennifer McCain Bray was, by most accounts, a trusted and popular employee at the Las Vegas Valley Water District. Everyone there called her JJ. As the I-Team first reported more than two years ago, investigators eventually figured out that McCain allegedly engineered a brazen, one-woman crime spree, right under the noses of her employers and co-workers.

It continued for at least five years before anyone noticed. McCain allegedly used her position in the purchasing department to order printer cartridges. Every color, shape, and size, for every machine, including machines no longer in use at the district. Internal records the I-Team obtained show that nearly all of the purchases were made through one company, Staples.

On average, McCain ordered $40,000 worth of ink per month. In 2014, she spent $1.2 million on ink. In 2015, she spent even more. The final tally was $4.3 million. 

Water district records show she used defunct accounts to place many orders. The deliveries came to the water district, sometimes to her personal office, then were shipped out to a company in New Jersey that operated out of a private home. The company bought the ink at a discount and sent money to McCain’s Pay Pal account.

The McCain’s were living large. They purchased a sprawling home in 2015 and filled it with expensive toys and amenities. Adding a new casita, a swimming pool, several luxurious RV’s, fifth-wheels, dune buggies and other goodies. Again, no one seemed to notice.

In Dec. 2015, after someone noticed a discrepancy, McCain was called on the carpet, admitted what she had done, and resigned. Two months later, FBI agents interviewed her but no charges were filed until after the I-Team stories aired in April.

Initially, McCain entered a plea of not guilty. Now, she reportedly is ready to accept a plea deal that calls for a little over four years in prison, plus restitution, which would come out to one year for each million dollars’ worth of ink.

The water district was insured for the loss and has been reimbursed around $4 million.

As for the New Jersey figures, the company that was dealing with McCain shut down after the story broke, and the people who ran it reportedly returned to Pakistan. They’ve since returned to the U.S. and told the FBI they had no idea the bargain printer cartridges they bought for years may have been stolen.

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