Former Procurement Officer at Federally Funded Nuclear Research and Development Facility Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud and Money Laundering
A former procurement officer employed at Sandia Corporation, the prime operator of a federally funded nuclear research and development facility, pleaded guilty today to charges of wire fraud and money laundering for orchestrating a scheme to obtain approximately $2.3 million in federal funds through fraudulent means and for laundering fraudulently obtained proceeds through her father’s companies.
Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division made the announcement.
Carla Sena, 55, of Santa Rosa, New Mexico, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering before U.S. District Chief Judge M. Christina Armijo in the District of New Mexico. Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date before Judge Armijo.
According to the plea documents, Sena’s employer, Sandia Corporation, managed and operated Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), a nuclear research and development facility owned by the federal government under sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In late 2010, Sena managed the bidding process for the award of a multi-million-dollar contract for moving services at SNL. Sena admitted that, in anticipation of the bidding process for this contract, she created the company, New Mexico Express Movers LLC (Movers LLC), to which she awarded the multi-million-dollar contract. Sena prepared a bid on Movers LLC’s behalf containing fraudulent misrepresentations, and submitted the bid under the name of an individual who had no knowledge of Movers LLC to conceal her involvement. Sena also admitted that she used her position of trust to access inside information and competing bidders’ documents that she leveraged to ensure award of the contract to Movers LLC.
As a direct result of Sena’s fraudulent scheme, Movers LLC received approximately $2.3 million in federal funds between May 2011 and April 2016. Sena also admitted that, between October 2011 and April 2015, she transferred via negotiated checks at least $643,000 of the fraudulently obtained proceeds to legitimate businesses owned by her father with the intent to conceal the source and control of those funds and her subsequent personal gain from the proceeds.
The DOE Office of Inspector General investigated the case. Trial Attorneys Victor R. Salgado and Rebecca Moses of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section are prosecuting the case.