NIH Employee Pleads Guilty to Using Government Credit Cards To Make Purchases for Her Personal Use

May 11, 2012

Baltimore, Maryland - Tamia M. McCoy, age 32, of Germantown, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to theft of government property and money, in connection with her use of government credit cards to make unauthorized purchases of goods and services for her personal use.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Elton Malone, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Office of Investigations, Special Investigations Branch.

“McCoy brazenly sought to profit at the behest of tax payer dollars. What she didn’t know is that the Office of Inspector General has been utilizing sophisticated software to detect aberrant credit card patterns that indicate criminal behavior,” said Special Agent in Charge Elton Malone of the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Special Investigations Branch. “We will continue to insist that federal government employee conduct be held to the highest of standards.”

According to McCoy’s plea agreement, beginning in November 2007, McCoy was employed at the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, as a purchasing agent and procurement analyst. As part of her duties, McCoy was issued a government credit card to purchase goods and services for official use. McCoy admitted that between May and December 2011, she used two government issued credit cards to purchase goods and services that were not intended to be, nor were they used for government purposes.

Specifically, McCoy’s purchases included approximately 119 iPads and other electronics, designer perfume and clutch bag, a queen-size mattress set, and other items. McCoy directed the retailers to ship many of these items to her home. McCoy kept some of the items for her personal use and resold other items by listing them for sale on an internet website. McCoy also used her government credit card to purchase services for her personal use, including house cleaning and cell phone service.

To avoid detection, McCoy falsified documents and disputed some of the charges with the credit card issuer, falsely claiming that she had not purchased the items in question. The loss to the government from McCoy’s unauthorized purchases is between $70,000 and $120,000.

McCoy faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz has scheduled sentencing for July 26, 2012 at 10:00 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General for its work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney David I. Salem, who is prosecuting the case.

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