BLM Employee Charged with Theft of Government Property
BOISE – Katrina Telleria, 34, of Boise, Idaho, was indicted today by a federal grand jury on 21 felony counts of theft of government property, 17 misdemeanors counts of theft of government property, and three felony false statement counts, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced.
The indictment alleges that from 2008 to 2011, Katrina Telleria was a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) administrative assistant authorized to use a government-issued MasterCard to make purchases for office supplies, firefighting operations, and administrative purposes, including an incentive gift card program in the BLM’s Boise District Office Fire Program. According to the indictment, the gift cards purchased by Telleria were to be distributed to district office fire supervisors to award employees. The indictment alleges that Telleria instead used her government-issued MasterCard to purchase “general-use gift cards” (American Express cards, Visa cards, and cards issued by MasterCard), which she then stole and appropriated to her own personal use. According to the indictment, Telleria allegedly stole nearly 200 “general-use gift cards” and government equipment, amounting to a loss of nearly $47,000.
“Those who are entrusted with authority to spend public funds have an absolute obligation to spend them only for proper public purposes,” said Olson. “The United States Attorney's Office and its federal law enforcement partners will aggressively investigate and prosecute those who abuse the public trust. I commend the BLM law enforcement officers who conducted this detailed investigation, with assistance from the U.S. Forest Service.”
“After a thorough investigation by BLM's Law Enforcement Office and the U.S. Attorney's Office, a government employee has been charged with the fraudulent diversion of government funds,” said BLM State Director Steve Ellis. “I am proud of the diligence and hard work of these law enforcement officers and the hundreds of BLM employees who serve in Idaho. That any government employee would consider their own personal gain ahead of their solemn public trust is unfortunate. These charges, however, show that as public servants we will neither whitewash nor tolerate employee conduct that diverts public funds for personal gain.”
The felony charge of theft of government property is punishable by up to ten years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release. The felony charge of false statement is punishable by up to five years in prison, a maximum fine of 250,000, and up to three years of supervised release. The penalty for misdemeanor theft of government property is punishable by up to one year in prison, a $100,000 fine, and up to one year of supervised release.
An indictment is a means of charging a person with criminal activity. It is not evidence. The person is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
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