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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Louisiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 23, 2021

Former Amtrak Employee Charged with Wire Fraud

NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced today that KENYA BUTLER-SMALL was charged on December 21, 2021 with two counts of wire fraud for conduct alleged to have occurred while she was employed by Amtrak as an On-board Services Train Attendant.

According to the bill of information, BUTLER-SMALL recruited more than 40 victims to purchase spots on a purported June 2019 trip from New Orleans to New York City. BUTLER-SMALL told the victims that she had booked roundtrip Amtrak train travel for the trip, as well as activities, such as shows and museum visits. In truth, BUTLER-SMALL had not booked the Amtrak travel or the activities.

When the date of the trip approached, BUTLER-SMALL told the victims, from whom she had taken a total of approximately $23,000 to $26,000, that Amtrak had canceled the trip because an incident occurred in which one of the trip’s passengers assaulted an Amtrak employee and made a bomb threat. In truth, no such incident had occurred.

The bill of information also alleges that BUTLER-SMALL submitted fraudulent sick benefit claims to the Railroad Retirement Board, a federal agency that provides benefits to Amtrak employees. BUTLER-SMALL claimed that she was too sick to work when, in truth, she was working another job. This caused the government to pay BUTLER-SMALL approximately $4,679 in sick benefits for days she falsely claimed to have been unable to work.

The maximum penalties for each count of wire fraud are up to 20 years imprisonment, up to three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000, and a $100 mandatory assessment fee. 

U.S. Attorney Evans reiterated that the bill of information is merely a charging document and that the defendant’s guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case was investigated by the Amtrak Office of Inspector General and the Railroad Retirement Board Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chandra Menon is in charge of the prosecution.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Updated December 23, 2021