Two of the prison guards who were on watch when Jeffrey Epstein hanged himself in his cell are now facing prison time, themselves, thanks to their arrest on a federal indictment.
According to new legal docs ... Tova Noel and Michael Thomas are both facing charges of falsifying the logs of exactly when they performed checks on Epstein's jail cell.
The feds claim Noel and Thomas were 2 of the guards on duty on August 10 from 12 AM to 8 AM, and during their watch, they were supposed to conduct 5 scheduled checks on Epstein.
The 2 guards allegedly completed slips stating they made those checks, but the feds say not a single one was actually carried through. According to the indictment, Noel and Thomas were at their desks in the common area using computers ... just 15 feet from Epstein's cell. BTW, they weren't doing work either ... the feds allege they were shopping for furniture and hunting down motorcycle deals and sports news.
The feds claim for a period of approximately 2 hours, the guards were sitting at their desks "without moving, and appeared to have been asleep."
Epstein was found dead at 6:33 AM alone in his cell with a noose around his neck ... according to the indictment. Both guards allegedly fessed up to a supervisor that they skipped their checks.
As we reported ... Epstein had attempted suicide a couple weeks prior in July, which is why he was placed in a special housing unit requiring extra supervision.
Thomas and Noel are now each facing one count of conspiracy to falsify records. That carried a max sentence of 5 years in prison. Additionally, Noel is charged with 5 counts of falsifying records while Thomas only got 3. Each of those also carries a max sentence of 5 years
Epstein's death was ruled a suicide by hanging according to the autopsy, but as we've reported ... his team has not ruled out a cover-up, and at least one forensic expert claims the autopsy is missing DNA evidence.