U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer Indicted on Charges of Theft and False Statements
A federal grand jury sitting in the Southern District of Texas returned an indictment on Dec. 12 charging a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer with converting federal funds to his own use, with concealing material facts from CBP, and with making false representations to CBP, Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division announced.
Daniel Lerchbacker, 35, of Conroe, Texas, was charged with three counts of theft for allegedly failing to pay three Canadian entities for expenses that the United States had already provided the funds to cover and for collecting federal funds to which he knew he was not entitled. Lerchbacker was also charged with two counts of false statements for allegedly submitting to CBP copies of checks as proof of payment, despite knowing that such payments had not, in fact, been made. Lerchbacker will be arraigned on the charges today at 2 p.m. CST before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christina A. Bryan in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas in Houston.
According to the indictment, Lerchbacker, while stationed in Canada as a CBP officer between December 2015 and December 2017, allegedly received from the U.S. foreign monetary allowances for the lease of his family’s residence and private school education expenses for his children. During this time, Lerchbacker received the full amount of federal funds that he requested for these expenses, but Lerchbacker allegedly failed to pay a property management company and two private schools a total of approximately $54,460.99 CAD. Additionally, Lerchbacker allegedly requested, collected, and retained from the United States approximately $24,230.50 CAD in advance funds for educational expenses for his children while knowing that he was to leave Canada before the end of the school year.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Rebecca Moses of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.