Government Employee Pleads Guilty in Fraudulent Scheme To Receive Unearned Pay

Created False Doctor Notes to Receive Paid Time Off Donated by Other Employees

September 7, 2012

Baltimore, Maryland - Monetta Harvey, age 49, of Laurel, Maryland pleaded guilty today to making a false statement.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and William G. Squires Jr. of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General.

According to her plea agreement, Harvey worked in the human resources division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, at the Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland. Harvey administered the Leave Donor Program, which permits an employee with a qualifying medical condition to receive paid leave donated by other employees, rather than being forced into taking unpaid time off from work.

From April to September, 2011, Harvey submitted four letters to her employer purportedly written by two doctors stating that she suffered from hypertension and chronic depression. The letters asserted that Harvey required medical attention for one to three days a week. Harvey used the letters to qualify for the leave donor program as well as for regular sick leave.

When Harvey’s supervisor became suspicious of the letters, she contacted one of the doctors, who said that Harvey was not his patient and he had not written any of the medical notes on her behalf. Investigators could find no record confirming the existence of the other doctor.

On March 19, 2012, investigating agents interviewed Harvey. She admitted that she created the false doctor notes to obtain donated paid leave. By the time the fraud was discovered, Harvey had used 269 hours of paid, donated leave, and received 27 hours of deferred annual leave and 14 hours of deferred sick leave. The leave had been donated by 19 U.S Department of Agriculture employees. The value of the leave she used was $9,027.20.

Harvey faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. As part of her plea agreement, Harvey has agreed to pay restitution of $9,027. U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte scheduled sentencing for November 9, 2012 at 9:30 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General for its work in the investigation and thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Hollis Raphael Weisman, who is prosecuting the case.

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