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Press Release

German Citizen Indicted For Major Fraud In Connection With A State Department Grant

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


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          Contact ELIZABETH MORSE                                                   at (410) 209-4885


Greenbelt, Maryland – A federal grand jury has indicted Katrin Verclas, age 50, a native and citizen of Germany residing in Washington, D.C., on a charge related to a scheme to defraud the U.S. Department of State of $1.231 million. The indictment was returned on March 26, 2018, and was unsealed upon the arrest of Verclas.

The indictment was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Stephen M. Schenning and Steve A. Linick, Inspector General for the U.S. Department of State.

According to the indictment, Verclas, as director of MobileActive Corp, obtained a grant from the U.S. Department of State intended to support and promote U.S. global internet freedom efforts. Verclas represented to the U.S. Department of State that MobileActive was a non-profit organization pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3) with the legal authority to apply for a grant, and that MobileActive had the financial capability to ensure proper planning, management, and completion of the grant project.

MobileActive was not a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and thus, did not have the legal authority to apply for the grant. Verclas spent much of the money from the U.S. Department of State on personal expenses and expenses unrelated to the grant. Verclas caused the U.S. Department of State to transfer $1.222 million into her control.

Verclas faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings. 

Acting United States Attorney Stephen M. Schenning commended the U.S. Department of State, Office of Inspector General, for its work in the investigation. Mr. Schenning thanked Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Dominique Juliet Park and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan E. Foreman, who are prosecuting the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Katharine A. Wagner with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Massachusetts, provided substantial assistance.


Updated March 29, 2018