Former CBP Employee Sentenced for Using OPM Data Breach to Falsely Claim Identity Theft to Charge-Off Legitimate Debts
Defendant Made False Statements During Background Investigation
WASHINGTON – Ronda M. Young, 49, a former Management & Program Analyst for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs & Border Protection (CBP), was sentenced to a two-year probation term for using OPM data breach to falsely claim identity theft to charge-off legitimate debts.
U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu and Anthony Triplett, Special Agent in Charge of U. S. Customs and Border Protection, Washington Field Office made the announcement.
Young pled guilty in August 2019 to one count of making a false statement, and one count of second-degree felony fraud. On October 16, 2019, the Honorable Ellen S. Huvelle sentenced Young to a two-year term of probation in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The probationary sentences were ordered to run concurrently. Young was also ordered to pay $14,734.48 in restitution to the victim financial institutions, a $2,000 fine, $200 in special assessment fees, and perform 150 hours of community service.
According to court papers, from April 2010, through November 2017, Young obtained and used credit from J.P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Barclays Bank and FedChoice Federal Credit Union, for, among other things, personal domestic and international travel, furniture, and to register for the CBP Trusted Traveler/Global Entry Program. Young then used the 2015 Office of Personnel Management data breach to submit a false complaint and affidavit claiming that she was the victim of identity theft and that she neither applied for, obtained, nor used, the credit for her personal benefit, which in turn caused the financial institutions to charge-off approximately $34,664 in legitimate debts. Young admitted to engaging in the scheme to defraud the financial institutions to improve her credit history in anticipation of an upcoming background investigation.
When CBP conducted Young’s five-year background investigation in March 2018, she made false statements to the agents conducting the interviews on two occasions. First, Young falsely claimed that she paid the debts in full and would provide documentation reflecting the payments. At a subsequent interview, Young claimed that she misspoke and said that she was the victim of identity theft from the OPM breach, the debts were not hers, and that she had disputed the debts, which should have been removed from her credit report. Young made the false statements to the agents knowing that she had lawfully incurred the debts and that the claims of identity theft were false. She also knew that her financial background and credit history were material to her background investigation.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Liu and Special Agent in Charge Triplett praised the work of Special Agents from Customs and Border Protection, Office of Prodessional Responsibility, who led the investigation. They also acknowledge the work of Assistant United States Attorney Diane Lucas and former Assistant United States Attorney Denise A. Simmonds of the Fraud and Public Corruption Section, who investigated and prosecuted this matter, and former Paralegal Specialist Brittany Phillips, who worked on the investigation.