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Professional Responsibility
07/13/2012

Former ICE official sentenced to 20 months in prison for taking part in fraud

Defendant obtained more than $180,000 in scheme; overall losses amounted to more than $500,000

WASHINGTON — The former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Office of Intelligence was sentenced today to 20 months in prison for defrauding the U.S. government.

James M. Woosley, 48, defrauded the government of more than $180,000 in a scheme involving fraudulent travel vouchers, and time and attendance claims.

The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., District of Columbia; Charles K. Edwards, acting inspector general of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS); James W. McJunkin, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office, and Timothy Moynihan, director of ICE's Office of Professional Responsibility.

Woosley, formerly of Tucson, Ariz., pleaded guilty in May 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a charge of conversion of government money. He was sentenced by the Honorable Amy Berman Jackson. Upon completion of his prison term, Woosley will be placed on three years of supervised release. In addition, as part of his plea agreement, he agreed to forfeiture and restitution of the money that he wrongfully obtained.

Four others have pled guilty in the case. Ahmed Adil Abdallat, 64, a former ICE supervisory intelligence research specialist, pleaded guilty in October 2011; William J. Korn, 53, a former ICE intelligence research specialist, pleaded guilty in December 2011; Stephen E.

Henderson, 62, a former contractor who did work for ICE, pleaded guilty in January 2012, and Lateisha M. Rollerson, 38, a former assistant to Woosley, pleaded guilty in March 2012.

Abdallat pleaded guilty in the Western District of Texas, and the others pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia.

Abdallat was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and ordered to pay $116,392 in restitution. Henderson has been sentenced to three months in prison and must forfeit $54,387, representing his share of the proceeds of the crime. Rollerson was sentenced to 10 months in prison and ordered to pay $295,866 in restitution. Korn is awaiting sentencing.

All told, the actions of the various defendants cost ICE more than $500,000.

"Today's sentence reflects the outstanding law enforcement cooperation in a case that unmasked the illicit acts of a senior ICE official," said Director Moynihan. "Bottom line: James Woosley violated the public trust in pursuit of his own greed. While his actions are atypical of the dedication and integrity demonstrated by the vast majority of ICE employees, this sentence should serve as a stark reminder about the serious consequences facing those who would exploit their positions for personal financial gain. The ICE Office of Professional Responsibility will continue to investigate those individuals aggressively and seek their prosecution to the fullest extent of the law."

"James Woosley took advantage of the trust he was given by the United States government to carry out a scheme that cost American taxpayers more than a half-million dollars," said U.S. Attorney Machen. "He personally obtained more than $188,000 while also bringing others into the fraud. Now he and four others have been convicted of their crimes, and he will be spending time in prison for this betrayal of his office."

"For years, Mr. Woosley participated in a scheme to defraud the government for his own personal gain," said Assistant Director in Charge McJunkin. "Today, he is being held accountable for his actions. This sentencing demonstrates that those who engage in government corruption, as well as those who allow it to happen, will be brought to justice."

According to the government's evidence, with which Woosley agreed, from in or about May 2008 until in or about January 2011, Woosley participated in the fraudulent activity involving travel vouchers, and time and attendance claims. In addition, from June 2008 until in or about February 2011, Woosley was aware of or willfully overlooked fraudulent activity of ICE or contract employees under his supervision.

The other employees included Rollerson, who he met in or about 2007, while he was deputy director of ICE's Office of Intelligence. Woosley and Rollerson developed a close, personal relationship. In or about May 2008, Rollerson was hired as an intelligence reports writer for a company that did contract work for ICE. Later that year, she was hired by ICE as an intelligence research specialist. This placed her first in the chain of command under Woosley, and she later became Woosley's personal assistant. Rollerson's official duty station was in Washington, and she lived in Virginia, often with Woosley. Rollerson helped Woosley and the other participants with the paperwork to support the fraudulent payments they later received. Woosley admitted obtaining money in various ways:

  • Between in or about May 2008 and January 2011, Woosley submitted or caused to be submitted approximately 13 fraudulent travel vouchers to ICE, at a cost of $50,637. As Woosley's assistant, Rollerson created all but one of the travel vouchers, as well as fraudulent documents to support the claimed expenses. She often accompanied him on the trips.
  • Between in or about November 2009 and January 2011, Woosley submitted or caused to be submitted time and attendance claims for his pay for work he was supposed to be doing while he was on travel. Because he was not actually on travel, or working, he was not entitled to the payments of approximately $27,230.
  • Starting in 2008, Woosley took a share of the fraudulent proceeds obtained by others in a scheme involving travel vouchers. For example, Henderson, an ICE contractor who was detailed on temporary duty to Washington, kicked back $5,000 to Woosley that was used to purchase a boat. Henderson also lived with Woosley and used some fraudulent proceeds to pay rent. Abdallat wrote checks to Rollerson and others, for the benefit of Woosley and Rollerson, totaling about $58,550. Korn kicked back about $30,648 to the benefit of Woosley and Rollerson. Finally, an unnamed contract employee gave $15,940 in fraudulent travel voucher funds to Woosley, which Woosley used for a real estate investment.

This case was investigated by ICE's OPR, DHS' Office of Inspector General and FBI's Washington Field Office.

In announcing today's sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen, Acting Inspector General Edwards, Assistant Director McJunkin, and Assistant Director Moynihan praised the investigative agents from the respective agencies for their hard work in this matter. They also acknowledged the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel Butler and Allison Barlotta, who handled this prosecution, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Scruggs, who handled the asset forfeiture.