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Press Release

Vacaville Man Pleads Guilty to Defrauding California Air National Guard of Approximately $200,000 in Leave and False Expenses Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Thomas Venable, 46, of Vacaville, pleaded guilty today to theft concerning programs receiving federal funds in connection with his operation of a sustained leave and false expenses scheme while he was a Major in the California Air National Guard, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, between April 2008 and April 2010, Venable obtained nearly $195,528 from the California Air National Guard (CA ANG) in wages, benefits, and expense reimbursements to which he was not entitled. Venable was assigned to a detail with the California Emergency Management Authority (Cal-EMA) that was available only to active duty CA ANG members. At the same time, Venable was frequently deployed for training and duty with the U.S. Air Force, and he was employed full time by the University of California-San Francisco Police Department (UCSF-PD). While deployed on federal duty or while working for the UCSF-PD between April 2008 and April 2010, Venable intentionally failed to use required military or other leave and collected double compensation from the federal government and the state of California. During the same period, Venable also filed at least 19 false travel and expense reimbursement claims that were unrelated to his CA ANG work but that were paid as though they were legitimate.

Venable also admitted that, for more than a year, he concealed from his direct supervisors at the CA ANG that he had joined the Texas Air National Guard in February 2009, resulting in Venable’s discharge from the CA ANG and his ineligibility for employment with Cal-EMA.  In doing so, Venable affirmatively misrepresented his duty status to CA ANG staff.

This case is the product of an investigation by the United States Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and the California Highway Patrol, Office of Internal Affairs. Assistant United States Attorney André M. Espinosa is prosecuting the case.

Venable is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez on February 16, 2016. Venable faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Updated November 10, 2015

Press Release Number: 2: 15-cr-196 JAM