United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington
Customs And Border Protection Officer And Wife Charged With Fraud Over Education Reimbursement Claims
Submitted False Documents to Claim Education Expenses for Children
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer living in Victoria, B.C. Canada, and his wife were arrested and charged today with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. with respect to claims for filing false claims for educational expenses, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.
JOHN ERIC WEAVER and his wife JOY WEAVER appeared in U.S. District Court in Tacoma today. WEAVER had been assigned to desk duty since the investigation began, and has now been placed on paid administrative leave.
According to the complaint, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers, like other federal employees stationed overseas, are eligible for an education allowance for their minor children. Those expenses include basic tuition for required courses and necessary elective courses, books and supplies required by the school, and local transportation on school days between the school and the employee’s home. The complaint alleges that in 2009 and 2010, JOY WEAVER created fictitious invoices from the school their children attended, claiming tuition that was twice the actual amount of tuition. JOHN ERIC WEAVER submitted the false documents and claims to the CBP Office of Administration. The fraud was discovered in June 2010 when a financial program specialist checked with the school to see if there were costs for books and supplies that should be reimbursed. When the school indicated the invoices did not reflect the accurate cost of tuition and had not been produced by the school, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) began its investigation. The invoices submitted by the WEAVERS were determined to be false. The complaint alleges that the couple filed false claims for education reimbursement of more than $8,000.
The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Conspiracy to file a false claim is punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) with the assistance of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Internal Affairs, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Marci Ellsworth.