Former Procurement Officer at Federally Funded Nuclear Research and Development Facility Indicted on Charges of Wire Fraud, Major Fraud and Money Laundering
A federal grand jury sitting in the District of New Mexico returned an 11-count indictment against a former procurement officer employed at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), a nuclear research and development facility of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), for orchestrating a scheme to obtain a $2.3 million contract through fraudulent means. Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division made the announcement.
Carla Sena, 55, of Albuquerque, New Mexico was charged with three counts of wire fraud, one count of major fraud against the United States and seven counts of money laundering.
According to the indictment, SNL was managed and operated by Sandia Corporation (“Sandia”) during the relevant time period. In late 2010, Sena was assigned by Sandia to manage the bidding process for the award of a contract for moving services at SNL. In anticipation thereof, Sena created New Mexico Express Movers LLC (“Movers LLC”), prepared a bid on Movers LLC’s behalf, and submitted the bid to Sandia under someone else’s name to conceal her involvement. Sena made several material and fraudulent misrepresentations in Movers LLC’s bid that would have resulted in disqualification, but she used her position at SNL to ensure that these misrepresentations went undetected. Sena also used her position to access other bidders’ documents and information that she in turn leveraged to ensure award of the contract to Movers LLC. As a direct result of Sena’s scheme to defraud, Movers LLC received approximately $2.3 million in DOE funds. The indictment further alleges that, between December 2011 and April 2015, Sena transferred via negotiated checks at least $643,000 of these fraudulently obtained proceeds to legitimate businesses owned by her father with the intent to conceal her subsequent use of the proceeds for personal gain.
The indictment is the result of an ongoing investigation by the DOE Office of Inspector General and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Victor R. Salgado and Rebecca Moses of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.