ICE contract worker implicated in travel voucher kickback scheme

January 16, 2012

An intelligence contract employee with Immigration and Customs Enforcement faces a charge of embezzling more than $54,000, the third defendant in an expanding probe of a travel voucher kickback scheme.

Stephen E. Henderson, 61, of Asheville, N.C., is scheduled to appear Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington for an arraignment and plea agreement hearing stemming from a conversion-of-public-money charge.

Henderson, a senior lead intelligence analyst with the agency’s Office of Intelligence, declined to comment when reached by phone.

William Jackson Garber, Henderson’s attorney, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Henderson filed fake expense reimbursement claims from about July 2008 to October 2010, with the help of two unnamed ICE employees, the charging document says. The other two employees were a supervisor and the supervisor’s assistant.

Henderson is the second ICE intelligence employee charged in the past month and the third within a year as part of the scheme. Prosecutors are also seeking a judgment of $54,387.62 against Henderson. The amount of money stolen by the three defendants exceeds $221,000, records say.

The first of the three defendants, Ahmed Abdil Abdallat, is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in western Texas. A former intelligence analyst in El Paso, Abdallat admitted in October that he submitted fraudulent travel vouchers totaling $116,392.84 between February 2009 and September 2010, court records show. Prosecutors are seeking a monetary judgment against Abdallat. He also faces up to 10 years in prison.

A second defendant, William J. Korn, pleaded guilty last month to defrauding the government of more than $50,000 in a similar scheme. Korn admitted that he worked with an unnamed supervisor in his chain of command and the supervisor’s unnamed assistant to submit fake travel voucher claims. A sentencing date has not been set for Korn. He faces up to a year in prison and a possible fine of as much as $20,000.

The federal probe, investigated by the FBI, the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general’s office and ICE, involves at least two other former employees, a former acting intelligence chief, James M. Woosley, and his assistant, Leticia Rollerson, according to court testimony.

Woosley and Rollerson resigned from their Washington-based jobs within weeks of each other last year. Neither has been arrested or charged. They could not be reached for comment.

Woosley’s domestic assignments included posts in Washington, El Paso, Los Angeles, Tucson and Phoenix, according to his biography, which was removed early last year from the agency’s Web site. Before his June 2009 appointment as acting intelligence chief, Woosley directed the agency’s Arizona field intelligence group in Tucson.

Henderson’s official duty station was Tucson until Aug. 26, 2009, when his company changed his assignment to Fairfax, according to the court document. Henderson lived in a rental house in Tucson that belonged to the unnamed ICE supervisor. The supervisor and his assistant were based in Washington.

William Miller, spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.

Andrew Becker is a reporter for the Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit news organization based in Berkeley, Calif. He can be reached at abecker@cironline.org.

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