Criminal Justice News

Friday, June 01, 2012

Former Contractor Sentenced to Prison for Taking Part in Fraud Against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Defendant Fraudulently Obtained More Than $50,000 in Travel Expenses

WASHINGTON—Stephen E. Henderson, 61, who previously was employed by a contractor doing work for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), was sentenced today to three months in prison for taking part in a scheme in which he fraudulently received more than $50,000 in government money.

The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr.; Charles K. Edwards, Acting Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security; James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and Paul E. Layman, Deputy Division Director of ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

Henderson, of Asheville, North Carolina, pled guilty in January 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a charge of conversion of government money. He was sentenced by the Honorable Amy Berman Jackson. As part of his plea agreement, Henderson agreed to forfeit $54,387, representing his share of the proceeds from the crime. Upon completion of his prison sentence, Henderson will be placed on two years of supervised release.

Four others have pled guilty in the case. James M. Woosley, 48, the former acting director of Intelligence for ICE, pled guilty yesterday; Ahmed Adil Abdallat, 64, a former ICE supervisory intelligence research specialist, pled guilty in October 2011; William J. Korn, 53, a former ICE intelligence research specialist, pled guilty in December 2011; and Lateisha M. Rollerson, 38, a former assistant to Woosley, pled guilty in March 2012. Abdallat pled guilty in the Western District of Texas, and the others pled guilty in the District of Columbia.

All told, the actions of the various defendants cost ICE more than $500,000.

According to the government’s evidence, Henderson was employed as a senior lead intelligence analyst for a private company and did work in that position as a contractor for ICE.

In November 2007, Henderson was assigned to temporary duty (TDY) in Washington, D.C. to work at the ICE Intelligence Division at the request of then-Deputy Director Woosley. When he arrived in Washington, D.C., Henderson went to stay with Woosley in a corporate apartment in Virginia.

When a U.S. government employee or contractor is on TDY status, the employee or contractor is entitled to a per diem allowance for lodging, meals, and other expenses.

In or about the spring of 2008, Woosley, Henderson, Rollerson, and others began using the ICE travel voucher system as a means to steal money from the government.

For example, Woosley, Rollerson, and Henderson decided to buy a boat, using money Henderson would obtain from a travel advance. The plan between the three was that the boat would be given to Woosley for his use, and when he was done with it, he would give it to Henderson to take to Michigan. Rollerson, Henderson, and another contract employee all were involved in the selection of the boat, and when it was time to make the purchase, Henderson transferred $5,000 that he had received from travel advances into Woosley’s bank account. Henderson justified the advances by submitting fraudulent travel vouchers to the company for which he worked, and the expenses ultimately were paid by ICE.

In or about October 2008, the company for which Henderson worked began using a new travel reimbursement system that required employees to submit supporting documentation such as receipts along with travel vouchers. Henderson had difficulty figuring out how to work the new system, and he asked for Rollerson’s assistance. From that point on, Rollerson facilitated Henderson’s submission of false travel vouchers by creating fraudulent receipts for fictitious travel expenses.

In or about October 2009, Rollerson directed Henderson to apply for a travel advance for a fictional trip and to give the money he received to her for the benefit of herself and Woosley. Henderson complied with the request, and when he received the advance, he paid Rollerson approximately $4,000 in cash.

In late 2009, Henderson’s company permanently relocated him to Washington, D.C. This would have eliminated the need for him to receive reimbursements for lodging and meals and incidental expenses. When the transfer took effect, Rollerson, who was then Woosley’s assistant, notified Henderson that he was being sent back to Tucson on TDY. The TDY assignment gave Henderson an excuse to submit travel vouchers for lodging and expenses in Tucson, even though he was staying at his own personal residence, a home he was renting from Woosley. Rollerson told Henderson that he should not go to work at the ICE office when he arrived in Tucson, but that he should work from home, which he did. During the course of his involvement in the travel voucher scheme, Henderson received a total of approximately $54,387 in reimbursements in connection with fraudulent travel vouchers. He kicked back more than $20,000 of the money he stole to Woosley and Rollerson.

This case is being investigated by the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Professional Responsibility, Special Investigation Unit.

In announcing today’s sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen, Acting Inspector General Edwards, Assistant Director McJunkin, and Deputy Division Director Layman praised the investigative agents from the respective agencies for their hard work in this matter. They also acknowledged the efforts of former Legal Assistant Jared Forney and Paralegal Sarah Reis, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel Butler and Allison Barlotta, who are handling this prosecution, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott Sroka and Emily Scruggs, who are handling the asset forfeiture aspects of the case.

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