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.
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