WASHINGTON — A former assistant to an acting intelligence chief for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was sentenced Thursday to ten months in prison for taking part in a fraud scheme involving more than $500,000 in government money.
The case was investigated by the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI's Washington Field Office, and the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility.
Lateisha M. Rollerson, 38, of Bowie, Md., pleaded guilty in March in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a charge of conversion of government money. The judge also ordered Rollerson to pay restitution and forfeiture in the amount of $295,866. Upon completion of her prison term, Rollerson will be placed on three years of supervised release. In addition, she must perform 100 hours of community service.
Four others have pled guilty in the case. James M. Woosley, 48, the former acting director of intelligence for ICE, pleaded guilty in May; 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; and Stephen E. Henderson, 61, a former contractor who did work for ICE, pleaded guilty in January 2012. Abdallat pleaded guilty in the Western District of Texas, and the others pled guilty in the District of Columbia. Henderson has been sentenced to three months in prison and must forfeit $54,387, representing his share of the proceeds of the crime. Abdallat was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and ordered to pay $116,392 in restitution. Woosley and Korn are awaiting sentencing.
All told, the actions of the various defendants cost ICE more than $500,000.
According to the government's evidence, with which Rollerson agreed, in or about January 2007, Rollerson met and became involved with Woosley, who was then the deputy director for the ICE Office of Intelligence. In 2008, Woosley helped Rollerson to obtain employment as an intelligence reports writer for a company that did contract work for ICE. Later that year, she was hired directly by ICE as an intelligence research specialist, and by early 2009, she was directly reporting to Woosley as his assistant.
In or about the spring of 2008, Woosley, Henderson, Rollerson and others began using the ICE travel voucher system as a means to steal money from the government. For example, Woosley, Rollerson and Henderson decided to buy a boat, using money Henderson would obtain from a travel advance. Rollerson, Henderson and another contract employee all were involved in the selection of the boat, and when it was time to make the purchase, Henderson transferred $5,000 that he had received from travel advances into Woosley's bank account. Henderson justified the advances by submitting fraudulent travel vouchers for expenses that ultimately were paid by ICE.
In or about October 2008, Rollerson helped Henderson to submit a fraudulent voucher using his company's travel reimbursement system, which was newly updated to require supporting documentation. From that point on, Rollerson facilitated Henderson's submission of false travel vouchers by creating fraudulent receipts for fictitious travel expenses.
Additionally, when Woosley brought other ICE employees such as Korn and Abdallat to Washington, D.C., on temporary duty, Rollerson helped them to submit fraudulent travel vouchers by creating fictitious receipts, and she submitted fraudulent receipts to support vouchers for herself and Woosley as well.
Rollerson also made kickback demands and collected a portion of the kickback money that the other participants paid in the form of "rent," "loans," and other payments for the benefit of Woosley and Rollerson. For example, in or about October 2009, Rollerson directed Henderson to apply for a travel advance for a fictional trip and to give the money he received to her for the benefit of herself and Woosley. Henderson complied with the request, and when he received the advance, he paid Rollerson approximately $4,000 in cash. The kickback arrangements continued even after Henderson and Korn left Washington, D.C.
Finally, Rollerson obtained travel authorizations for herself and Woosley for trips they did not take, and during which neither worked. Rollerson then created fictitious receipts for expenses allegedly incurred during those fictitious trips. Rollerson's conduct resulted in ICE paying the fraudulent vouchers, as well as paying for work time and scheduled overtime for which neither Rollerson nor the ICE supervisor actually worked.
Through her involvement in the fraudulent scheme, Rollerson personally stole approximately $295,866 from the government. Of that amount, approximately $92,700 was derived from fraudulent travel vouchers that Rollerson submitted on her own behalf, approximately $85,791 represents regular and overtime wages that Rollerson was paid for time that she did not work, and approximately $117,374 represents kickbacks Rollerson received from other participants in the travel voucher fraud scheme.