Government Employee Sentenced for Scheme to Defraud Federal Voluntary Leave Transfer Program She Administered

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

December 13, 2012

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte sentenced Monetta Harvey, age 49, of Laurel, Maryland, yesterday to three years’ probation for making a false statement, in connection with a scheme to obtain leave donations. Judge Messitte also ordered Harvey to pay restitution of $9,027.20, write a letter of apology to each of the 19 individuals who donated leave on her behalf, and to perform 60 hours of community service.

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

“Monetta Harvey took advantage of the generosity of her coworkers by using forged doctors’ notes to persuade them to donate their annual leave to her,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Ms. Harvey ran the Agriculture Department’s voluntary leave transfer program, so she was able to exploit its vulnerabilities and take more than six weeks of vacation at her coworkers’ expense.”

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 required to take 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, law enforcement 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.

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

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