For five years, a top official at the General Services Administration used her post to steer jobs to her unqualified husband.
Helen Renee Ballard, 51, and Robert S. Ballard, 56, pleaded guilty in federal court in Alexandria on Thursday to submitting more than 100 fake employment applications to federal agencies.
According to court documents, Renee Ballard was director of the GSA’s Central Office Contracting Division in April 2010 when she essentially created a “senior acquisition and program strategy” job for her husband at an Arlington-based federal contractor, CACI. She falsely claimed to have recused herself from the contract, which paid $140,000 a year, while helping her husband falsify his education history and credentials. Robert Ballard was fired from the job after 17 months for “lack of work.”
Earlier in this case, prosecutors said Renee Ballard also helped put several members of her husband’s family on CACI’s payroll.
Renee Ballard admitted she also tried to hire her husband for a procurement job at the GSA, after again helping him falsify his résumé and changing her home address to obscure their relationship. She was negotiating the highest possible salary for him when a nepotism investigation was opened. Her husband backed out of the post, while she claimed to have no connection to him and nothing to do with the hire.
In fact, she was regularly helping him doctor his résumé with qualifications and education he did not have, then applying for government jobs on his behalf.
Two other government contractors hired Robert Ballard, according to court documents, but quickly fired him when it was clear he did not have the expertise he claimed.
Renee Ballard lost her directorship after the May 2011 nepotism probe, but she continued to work for the GSA until she and her husband were charged in 2016, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
The Ballards each face up to five years in prison; they are set to be sentenced on July 28.