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Energy Dept. Employee Runs Up Hefty Phone Bill

By Ed O'Keefe

An Energy Department employee and ten family members rung up approximately $19,000 in service charges on government-issued cellphones between March 2006 and August 2008, according to recent court filings.

Alva Yelverton, 40, pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government property on May 27 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. She resigned her position and agreed to pay restitution to the Energy Department.

Yelverton earned $77,973 per year as a program support specialist in the department's Office of Policy and International Affairs, responsible for office moves and the distribution of keys and telephones. She was the office's main point of contact with cellphone provider Sprint and submitted the office's monthly cellphone bills to the Energy Department, including the charges from the ten phones she gave to family members.

"The Department takes these matters very seriously and we appreciate the work of the Inspector General and the U.S. attorney in this case," said Energy Department spokeswoman Stephanie Mueller.

Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 25 and Yelverton faces a maximum ten years in prison, but will more likely face a six month sentence, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | June 11, 2009; 2:47 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Workplace Issues  
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Comments

One more stupid policy, giving employees like this credit cards, have your superiors not learned a thing.

Posted by: gerry11 | June 12, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Even more remarkable is that we actually pay someone $77,973 to coordinate office moves and distribute keys and telephones. Really?

Posted by: pfan55 | June 12, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

What does the IRS say about how to penalize the government that issues cell phones to employees and contractors? Why should that be considered a taxable item if your job requires you carry one? Get rid of this stupid law. Also if they want to regulate something why not the gas companies that seem to increase a nickel whenever the wind blows south and a dime when going north. You want to help consumers get us stable gas prices so people can afford to drive to work. When will congress wake up and do something to help the people not hurt them more?

Posted by: budbright | June 13, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

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