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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing $282,670 from Former Employer

Approved Payments to Fake Web Security Company

            WASHINGTON – William Robinson, 41, a former employee of a non-profit corporation that advocates for policies related to safe food, safe drinking water, and the climate, pled guilty to the interstate transportation of funds stolen from the non-profit corporation.

            The announcement was made by Acting U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin, and James A. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division.

            Robinson pled guilty today via videoconference in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before the Honorable Ketanji Brown Jackson to a one-count Information charging him with Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property.  Robinson is scheduled to be sentenced on March 2, 2021.  The charge carries a maximum penalty of up to ten years in prison.  Robinson will also be required to pay restitution in the amount of $282,670 and a forfeiture money judgment.

            According to the Statement of Offense, Robinson was initially hired by the non-profit corporation in 2012 as a web developer.  After multiple promotions, he became its Chief Technology Officer in 2015.  While working at the non-profit corporation, Robinson devised a scheme to defraud by creating Vulcan Network & Data Security, LLC (“Vulcan”) and arranging a contract for Vulcan to provide web security services to his non-profit corporation employer.  Robinson then created false invoices on behalf of Vulcan and submitted them to his employer’s finance department, requesting payment for purported web security services, testing, and equipment.  In reality, Vulcan never provided any services to the non-profit corporation, which was already paying a separate company for those services.  From April 2017 to September 2019, Robinson submitted 13 false Vulcan invoices to his non-profit corporation employer.  The non-profit corporation paid Vulcan a total of $282,670 for services never provided.  Robinson received all of these funds and used them to pay for personal expenses.

            For the last payment made to Vulcan in the course of this scheme, on October 11, 2019, Robinson asked the non-profit corporation’s finance department to issue a check to Vulcan, along with two other unrelated checks, and give them to a particular employee so that Robinson could hand deliver them.  Robinson offered that employee $50 to deliver the checks to him from Washington, D.C. to Springfield, Virginia.  After the employee made the delivery, Robinson cashed the $22,500 check from Vulcan that same day.

            In announcing the plea, Acting U.S. Attorney Sherwin and Special Agent in Charge Dawson commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office. They acknowledged the efforts of those who are handling the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, including Paralegal Specialists Quiana Dunn-Gordon, Amanda Rohde, and Michon Tart.

            Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Macey, of the Fraud Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, who prosecuted the case.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 
20-142
Updated December 1, 2020