FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 9, 2014
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Former Employee Pleads Guilty to Stealing
More Than $26,000 from Naval Research Laboratory
-Defendant Sold Stolen Equipment to Pawn Shops-
WASHINGTON – Joyce Dawn Ferrell, 42, a former secretary at the Naval Research Laboratory, pled guilty today to stealing more than $26,000 in equipment from her employer and then selling the items to pawn shops, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
Ferrell, of Indian Head, Md., pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a charge of theft of government property. The Honorable Rudolph Contreras scheduled sentencing for April 7, 2014. The charge carries a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison and financial penalties. Under federal sentencing guidelines, the parties have agreed that the likely range is a sentence of up to six months of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000. As part of the plea agreement, Ferrell has agreed to pay $26,029 in restitution to the Naval Research Laboratory. She also has agreed to a forfeiture money judgment, also of $26,029.
According to the government’s evidence, Ferrell was a secretary in the Optical Sciences Division of the Naval Research Laboratory in the District of Columbia. In July 2012, she took responsibility for making authorized purchases with her government-wide commercial purchase card. Starting that month, and continuing until about May 2013, she made a number of unauthorized purchases with the card at the Naval Research Laboratory’s commissary. Among other things, she bought computer equipment, drills, and thermal imagers. She then sold these items to pawn shops in Virginia and Maryland. In an effort to cover up her activities, Ferrell submitted falsified order forms to her supervisors at the Naval Research Laboratory.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which investigated the case. He also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and he acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Intelligence Specialist Sharon Johnson and Paralegal Specialists Donna Galindo and Shanna Hays. Finally, he thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine K. Connelly, who assisted with forfeiture issues, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Phil Selden, who is prosecuting the case.