National Science Foundation IT worker pleads guilty to stealing more than $94,000

December 5, 2013

An information technology specialist at the National Science Foundation pleaded guilty Thursday evening to stealing more than $94,000 from the federal agency by using his government-issued credit card to buy electronics, music and movies for himself and his family.

James T. Clark, 51, of Fredericksburg, Va., apologized to a federal judge in Alexandria as he pleaded guilty to theft from the government, saying he knew he was “unauthorized” to make the purchases from 2010 through July 2013. Federal prosecutor Menaka Kalaskar said that Clark had three government-issued Visa cards because he was responsible for IT purchasing, and he used them to buy cellphones, laptops, tablets and music and movies from the iTunes store.

In total, Kalaskar said, Clark’s purchases totaled more than $94,000. He agreed to pay more than $77,000 in restitution and let the government keep the electronics authorities had seized from him.

Clark faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison at his Feb. 21 sentencing. Judith Wheat, his defense attorney, said after the plea hearing that Clark had “accepted responsibility for his actions, and we anticipate explaining his conduct further to the court at the sentencing hearing.”

Wheat said Clark is still employed at the National Science Foundation.

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Matt Zapotosky covers the federal district courthouse in Alexandria, where he tries to break news from a windowless office in which he is not allowed to bring his cell phone.
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