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Woman pleads guilty in NIH funds theft

An Upper Marlboro woman pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing $1.9 million from the federal government by using her position as a sub-contractor to double-bill for projects related to the expansion of the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda.

Nicole Shantelle Smith, 38, faces sentencing Jan. 21 before U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton of the District for one count of theft of government property, a charge that carries a maximum 10-year prison term. In a deal with prosecutors, Smith agreed to repay the money and accept a recommended sentence of 37 to 46 months in line with federal guidelines.

Smith, a single mother who now works at Deloitte LLP, a consulting firm, was released on her own recognizance pending sentencing to care for two children.

Smith admitted that between July 2004 and Sept. 2007, she billed the General Services Administration for work that she was already being paid to do as a subcontractor to Washington Business Group and Project Support Services.

Smith helped administer contracts for the NIH project starting in 1998, gaining access to GSA's contractor invoice database and payment system. In 2001, she created her own company, NTT Consulting LLC, with another GSA sub-contractor and childhood friend, to which she directed funds through fictitious work orders and corresponding payments. Smith told Walton she expected to send her 14 and 16-year-old children to live with her mother in North Carolina upon sentencing.

By Spencer S. Hsu  | October 28, 2010; 6:46 PM ET
Categories:  Financial Crimes, Maryland, Montgomery, Spencer S. Hsu  
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I thought those folk were put through a rigorous investigation process.

Posted by: ceefer66 | October 28, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

How can she get away with administering government contracts when she was a subcontractor on one or more of those contracts? Sounds like the contracting officer needs to have his/her certificate of appointment suspended until internal processes are audited.

Posted by: blackforestcherry | October 29, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

What an example for her children! How do these people think they are going to get away with this? And why does the fed. gov't. so easily write checks? Seems like there may be an accomplice at NIH. It's incidents like this that make us question the reliability and veracity of our gov't. workers and contractors/sub-contractors.

Posted by: DecafDrinker | October 29, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

What about her ex-husband? Is he in the picture or not and why?

Posted by: | October 29, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

The ex-husband is in jail too and the ex-partner is not a suspect in this matter or she probably would be in the newspaper. This is a case of "GREED" A WORK A LONE BANDIT.

Posted by: themajesticbygwen | November 1, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

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