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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Former DoD Employee Pleads Guilty to $1.4 Million Fraud

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A Matthews woman pleaded guilty today to defrauding the federal government of over $1.4 million in a long-running time and attendance fraud scheme.

“Federal service is a public trust that demands of employees the highest degree of integrity in the workplace,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “As stewards of that trust, we must ensure that those in such positions are held fully accountable for breaches that put personal enrichment in place of public service.”

According to court documents, Michelle M. Holt, 52, was previously employed as a federal employee for the Department of Defense. Holt worked as a secretary for U.S. Air Force at Joint Base Langley-Eustis. In that capacity, Holt was a salaried employee on the General Schedule (GS) grade for the federal civilian workforce and was entitled to overtime pay if authorized by her employer, and also to other forms of holiday and annual leave, as well as premium pay for any federal holidays worked.

A law enforcement investigation determined that from December 2001 to July 2018, Holt falsely claimed over 42,000 hours in unauthorized overtime that she did not work, as well as other amounts of unauthorized holiday leave, sick leave and annual leave, all amounting to losses to the United States of $1,460.262.43. In recent years, Holt’s overtime pay was over double that of her regular salary.  She accomplished the fraud by making manual retroactive adjustments to protected computer time and attendance systems to add overtime, reverse leave taken and reverse holiday leave. In doing so, Holt used another employee’s log-in information without that employee’s knowledge or authorization.

Holt pleaded guilty to charges of computer fraud and theft of government property and faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison when sentenced on March 13. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Robert Craig, Special Agent in Charge for Defense Criminal Investigative Service Mid-Atlantic Field Office, and Colonel Kirk B. Stabler, Commander of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian J. Samuels is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:18-cr-93.

Topic(s): 
Public Corruption
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated December 12, 2018