Former Director of General Services Administration Division and Husband Indicted for Fraud and Nepotism
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Helen Renee Ballard, 51, and Robert S. Ballard, 55, both of Brandywine, Maryland, were indicted by a federal grand jury today on charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and false statements for their roles in a scheme to fraudulently obtain employment from the U.S. government and federal contractors for family members.
According to the indictment, Helen Renee Ballard (“Renee Ballard”) was the Director of the Central Office Contracting Division of the United States General Services Administration (GSA) from May 2006 to May 2011. From 2006 through May 2011, Renee Ballard and her husband, Robert S. Ballard (“Steve Ballard”), engaged in a scheme to enrich themselves and their family members by obtaining employment with federal contractors and the U.S. government through false and misleading statements concerning their relation, education, qualifications, and experience. As part of the $1.3 million scheme, Renee and Steve Ballard fraudulently induced a federal contractor located in Arlington to hire four relatives of the Ballards and a relative of Renee Ballard’s direct subordinate. The Arlington based contractor then placed all of the Ballard’s relatives, including Steve Ballard, on a federal contract awarded by GSA and supervised by Renee Ballard. Later, according to the indictment, Renee Ballard attempted to hire Steve Ballard, her husband, for a position within GSA under her supervision.
In addition, according to the indictment, Renee and Steve Ballard caused over 139 false employment applications to be submitted to federal agencies, including the FBI, Office of the Director of the National Intelligence, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. State Department, and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. These applications falsely misrepresented Steve Ballard’s education, qualifications, and experience, including that he had earned or taken classes toward a master’s degree and was certified in government contracting at Levels I, II, and III. In order to corroborate these false representations, Renee and Steve Ballard created and submitted fake certification documents. Finally, in order to conceal the scheme, Renee Ballard removed relevant documents from government files and suggested that a witness lie to federal investigators.
Renee and Steve Ballard face a mandatory sentence of two years in prison if convicted of aggravated identity theft and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison if convicted of wire fraud. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Carol Fortine Ochoa, Inspector General, GSA, made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Uzo Asonye and Katherine Wong are prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:16CR136.