German Citizen, Katrin Verclas Sentenced in Maryland to Nearly Two Years in Federal Prison for Charges Related to a Scheme to Defraud the U.S. State Department
In a Related Action, Corporation Controlled by the Defendant Will Pay $500,000 to Settle a Related Civil Complaint
Greenbelt, MD (STL.News) U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel sentenced Katrin Verclas, age 52, a native and citizen of Germany residing in Washington, D.C., today to 728 days in federal prison for obstruction of a federal audit and for causing a financial institution to fail to file a suspicious activity report (SAR). Verclas previously pleaded guilty to those charges, which were related to more than $1.2 million in U.S. State Department grant funds awarded to MobileActive, a corporation that Verclas controlled. To settle a related civil complaint filed against MobileActive, the corporation will pay $500,000 to the United States within five days of the Court accepting the consent judgment, or today’s sentencing, whichever is later.
The sentence was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner and Special Agent in Charge Mike Speckhardt of the U.S. Department of State Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations.
According to the plea agreement, on December 17, 2009, the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (“DRL”) publicized a Request for Proposal (“RFP”) that solicited grant proposals under the title “Promoting Freedom of Expression and the Free Flow of Information through Technology and Access.” The submission deadline for grant proposals was January 22, 2010.
As detailed in the plea agreement, Verclas, who was residing in Amherst, Massachusetts at the time, had worked for non-profit organizations in the field of social activism through the use of technology since about 1996. In preparation for a response to the DRL RFP, on January 15, 2010, Verclas converted a project known as MobileActive into a Delaware corporation, and on January 22, 2010, electronically submitted a grant proposal to DRL on behalf of MobileActive. On September 20, 2010, MobileActive was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of…