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Justice News

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

Friday, March 19, 2021

Former Employee of Federal Reserve Board Pleads Guilty to Theft of Government Property

Removed Proprietary Documents Prior to Quitting His Job

Greenbelt, Maryland – Venkatesh Rao, age 67, of Bethesda, Maryland, pleaded guilty on March 18, 2021 to theft of government property from his former employer, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Federal Reserve Board or FRB).   

The guilty plea was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner and Special Agent in Charge John T. Perez of the Federal Reserve Board Office of Inspector General.

According to his guilty plea, in 2019, the Federal Reserve Board notified Rao that it considered his work performance to be unsatisfactory and Rao made a decision to voluntarily separate from the Board.  Over the course of five weekend days in November 2019, Rao entered the FRB building in Washington, D.C. approximately 16 times and printed more than 50 restricted government documents from his workstation and avoided FRB restrictions on the emailing and electronic copying of restricted materials.  Rao removed the restricted documents, which contained proprietary information used by the FRB to conduct bank stress tests, from the FRB building and stored the materials at his home.

Rao faces a maximum sentence of one year in federal prison for theft of government property.  U.S. Magistrate Judge Gina L. Simms has scheduled sentencing for May 28, 2021.

Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended the Federal Reserve Board Office of Inspector General for its work in the investigation.  Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Harry M. Gruber and Peter J. Martinez, who are prosecuting the case.

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Marcia Murphy (410) 209-4854
Updated March 19, 2021