‘She regrets that she failed to follow her moral compass — admitting to false statements is hardly how she envisioned living out her retirement years,’ lawyer says
A former metalworker at a foundry providing steel used to make submarines for the 美国海军 has pleaded guilty to faking the results showing the strength of the metal, something prosecutors allege she did for 30 年.
Elaine Thomas from Auburn, 华盛顿 pled guilty to major fraud on Monday. The 67-year-old faked results for more than 240 productions of steel, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington state.
She’s set to be sentenced on 14 February and could face more than 10 years in prison and a fine of $1m, 纽约时报 报道.
Thomas worked as a metallurgist at a steel foundry in Tacoma, Washington between 1977 和 2017 that was initially owned by Atlas Castings & Technology but was acquired by Bradken Inc in 2008, the indictment states. Thomas was made director of metallurgy in 2009.
Bradken makes steel casings and acts as a subcontractor or supplier of companies that have contracts with the US Navy.
The company is the top supplier for the Navy when it comes to “cast high-yield” steel used for submarines, prosecutors stated.
They added that the steel productions affected by the faked tests make up “a substantial percentage of the castings Bradken produced for the Navy”.
From around 1985 until 2017, Thomas “knowingly devised and executed a scheme with the intent to defraud the United States Navy, and to obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretences and representations,” according to the indictment.
It added that Thomas in a “scheme to defraud” would at times change the first number of a test result to raise the weight by 10 or 20-foot pounds on tests that reveal the strength of the steel as well as the “amount of dynamic force” that it can stand up against.
The indictment said that the faked test results “caused the United States Navy to make contract payments that the Navy would not have made if it had known the true characteristics of the steel”.
In a court statement filed by defence lawyer John Carpenter, Thomas admitted that she “took shortcuts and made material misrepresentations”.
“Ms Thomas never intended to compromise the integrity of any material and is gratified that the government’s testing does not suggest that the structural integrity of any submarine was in fact compromised,” the statement added. “This offence is unique in that it was neither motivated by greed nor any desire for personal enrichment. She regrets that she failed to follow her moral compass — admitting to false statements is hardly how she envisioned living out her retirement years.”
这 我们 Attorney’s Office said Bradken leaders were unaware of the faked results until May 2017 when a lab staffer discovered that the test results had been “altered and that other discrepancies existed in Bradken’s record”.
When the altered records had been found, Thomas agreed to take part in voluntary interviews with federal agents in which the indictment says she “made false statements” to hide that she had sent in hundreds of faked results. 在 2019, she admitted that she had changed some results “but stated that she must have had a good reason to change the results,” the indictment added.
In June 2020, the company took responsibility for the faked results and paid more than $10.8m in a civil settlement following allegations that Bradken produced and sold “substandard steel components for installation on US Navy submarines,” the US Attorney’s office said.
“The Navy has taken extensive steps to ensure the safe operation of the affected submarines,” the office said in the statement. “Those measures will result in increased costs and maintenance as the substandard parts are monitored.”
独立 has reached out to Bradken and the US Navy for comment.