NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL OFFICE OF INVESTIGATIONS CLOSEOUT MEMORANDUM I, . 11 II /I TO: IAIGI File Number: I97060024 Date: 6 June 2002 - II rl Closeout Memo Subject: Page 1 of 1 I\ 1 1,$extracted There was no closeout written at the time this case was closed. The following information was fiom the file in conformance with standard closeout documents. /I icommitted Our office was informed that the subject' was alleged to have gone to court for credit card fraud by getting the Social Security number of another NSF employee. NSF-OIG investigated 1 i this allegation and confirmed that the subject pled guilty in the Maryland District Court to signing I credit card. A memo of this finding was written to the Division Director. (another '1 kccordingly this case is closed. 'II I Il II Prepared by: Cleared by: t 't Agent: Attorney: Supervisor: AIGI am;! 'I I ~ i ~ n a t u r&k ' date:!/I i 11 MEMOKANI)UM i * Date: June 26,1997 I It To: i v i s i o n Director, Division of Human Resource Development 11 II From: p e c i a l Agent-in-Charge, Investigations Section, i I Office of Inspector General It i Re: 4 We received information that a n NSF program assistant in the I Division of Human Resource Development (HRD), Directorate for Education and Human 11 Resources at NSF, had been in court on June 12, 1997, instead of at work, to face charges I I t of credit card fraud against another NSF employee. We-investigated to determine the I! ,I nature of these charges and the extent to which they related to NSF activities, functions, and interests. ii il ii 1The Prince George's County Maryland District Court confirmed that (had .appeared in court on June 12, 1997 because she had been charged with the following i/~arylandState felonies: I JArticle Section Violation Description '27 145 (c) (6) 1 count #O 198 Signing another's credit card 27 145 (c) (4) 1 count #2803 UnlawhUy receiving a credit card - $7 145 (d) 1 count #0203 Impersonating listed name on credit card BI to obtain over $300 worth of goods 27 145 (g) 1 count #0206 Using false credit cardfcharging over $300 I worth of goods with false card 27 48 2 counts #2520 Obtaining goodslmoney through forgery I 7 I In court, she pled guilty to 1 count of #0198, which had alleged t h a t ' d i d , with ihent to defraud J.C. Penney Co., Inc., sign a credit card issued to , without der consent, in violation of Maryland Annotated Code Article 27 9 145 (c)(6)." iiceived a sentence of "probation (2 years) before judgment." (see attachment) The 1I remaining charges were not prosecuted pursuant to the negotiated agreement. I 'I\ - . rn - '"- represented by an attorney, who has not made her available for a meeting. We have not, therefore, spoken to her about the facts underlying her plea. According to a Nordstrom Visa fraud investigator and a signed statement from the arresting police officer, these charges against n t e m from her arrest on April 26, 1997, at J.C. Penney in Hyattsville, MD for purchasing items with a fraudulent credit card. The card had been flagged by the card issuer, Nordstrom V W u 1! that the card had been applied for fraudulently. Nordstrom Visa determined that whose name and social security number were on the application, did not submit the 1 application. i r n p e r s o n a t e d o v e r the telephone (once on a cellular phone) on two occasions. While waiting at J.C. Penney for the credit card transaction to process, s p o k e to a Nordstrom Visa employee, identifying herself and attempted to expedite the credit card approval for the transaction. That day, had purchased items totaling $307.99 at J.C. Penney. d m i t t e d to the police offreer I 1 at the time of her arrest that she. s i g n e d ( l s n e on the back of the credit card. I / We spoke to (a former NSF employee1)and confirmed that her name and I social security number were used in I ) scheme to obtain credit cards unlawfully I and to purchase various items of value. s t a t e d that s t likely obtained II personal information through their work together at NSF. There is no indication I I that -had access to any o i l ) personal information outside of the office. i I was charged with statefklonies inregiird to only one credit card. However, at least eight fraudulent credit card applications were submitted i n n a r n e since December 1996, using the U.S. mails and interstate commerce. These applications were sent to various credit card issuing financial institutions. At least three of the cards were before had a chance to cancel them. r e c e i v e d information that one card was reported to be "very active". ILn addition to the Maryland statutes referenced above, this evidence demonstrates that m a y have violated federal criminal statutes ' and the following NSF employee LI conduct regulation: I/ I 1 i NSF Personnel Manual 14, Section 143 - NSF Employee Conduct - NSF employees are expected to adhere to basic standards of integrity and i decency. NSF employees must not engage in criminal, dishonest, \j immoral, or any other conduct prejudicial to the Government. omsially retired on disability from NSF on June 12,1997, but had been out of the ofice on the leave donor program since October 1996. t ' h k2 USC 4 408 Penalties (Using another's social security account number); 18 USC 4 1341 Frauds and 'i *indles; 18 USC 5 1342 Fictitious name and address; 18 USC 5 1343 Fraud by wire, radio, or television; 1 8 USC 5 1344 Bankfrcrud; and, 15 USC 5 1644 Fraudulent use of credit cards; penalties. Because the US. Government does not routinely prosecute cases tha already been prosecuted at the state level, the I ~ i ~ a r t m eof n tJustice has declined to prosecute f h a v e e s e charges. I I, 'I -, ** s )I =btainl ' conduct clearly violated section 143. Importantly, she abused her position at social security number as part of a criminal fraud. Although her "probation before judgment" sentence does not constitute a criminal conviction for legal purposes, this does not change the fact that the crime occurred, and that 0 admitted, at her arrest and in court, to having committed that crime. (1 L I I , HRD. We recommend that NSF take appropriate administrative action against 0 'I I cc: I\ w Assistant Director, EHR Branch Chief, HRM at nsf17 Date : 10:50 AM Close Out The subject of your report to Dr. e d June her credit card fraud, was issued a notlce of propos$'a separation on August 18, 1997. On August 21, 1997, subject sent an\e-mail massage to her boss that she wanted to resign effective August ~22, 1997. HRM processed her resignation on Friday and notified DAS to 'heactive her proximity card by COB 8/22/97. They have confirmtd that action to me this morning. Other than the fact that has not out-processed, which places her final check on hold, the case is closed at this time. 1 I case closed. . t Forward Header ~uthor 1 Date : rI Thanks, Linda. You and your staff should congratulate yourselves for se4rng that the right with minimum disruption and publicity for the agency. rb I I promised to keep you posted on this case. her resignation. Today is her last acgess card will be deactivated tonight. LI
NSF Employee Misconduct
Published by the National Science Foundation, Office of Inspector General on 1997-06-26.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)