Jul 18, 2007

Charges pending against LANL worker

http://www.lamonitor.com/articles/2007/07/17/headline_news/news03.txt

CAROL A. CLARK Monitor County Editor

Los Alamos police detectives Monday submitted results to the District Attorney's office for review and possible prosecution regarding their investigation into possible criminal actions by a Los Alamos National Laboratory contract employee.

"We are recommending that charges of embezzlement and tampering with evidence be filed against Stephanie Maestas-Romero," Det. Cpl. Doug Johnson said on Monday.

Maestas-Romero, 32, of Alcalde, worked in an administrative capacity at the plutonium facility (TA-55), according to police.


LANL public affairs spokesman Kevin Roark confirmed the situation during an interview on Monday.

"At the beginning of July, laboratory managers and security officials contacted Los Alamos police with concerns about the unauthorized or inappropriate use of laboratory property," Roark said. "The equipment has been recovered and the laboratory has determined that at no time was classified information involved."

Maestas-Romero has not been arrested, according to police.

An itemized list of the missing equipment identified in police documents includes a laptop computer, a desktop computer and a 37-inch computer monitor.

"We believe she took electronic equipment belonging to the laboratory to her home and let other family members use at least one of the computers," Johnson said.

During questioning, Maestas-Romero allegedly told police that she had a property pass allowing her to take equipment home from the lab.

"She could not immediately produce the pass," Johnson said. "It turns out that she appears to have had permission for the laptop. We have added the charge of tampering with evidence because we have reason to believe she attempted to take one of the computers to the salvage yard to have the hard drive smashed."

Prior to being a contract employee, Maestas-Romero was employed by LANL, but, according to the police report, was "apparently terminated after being suspected of taking items from work."

Roark said he couldn't comment on the investigation being conducted by police.

"The contract employee was terminated last week," Roark said. "It would be inappropriate to go into details because of personnel privacy issues."

Johnson praised LANL security and specifically the division that worked with LAPD on this case.

"We have worked with S-12 on a number of investigations and they do an outstanding job," he said. "The successful collaboration between our organizations is insuring the swift and thorough removal of individuals from the workplace who choose to break the law."

Chatter about the case first surfaced anonymously on July 8 on "LANL The Rest of the Story," a local blog about daily life at the laboratory.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Prior to being a contract employee, Maestas-Romero was employed by LANL,
but, according to the police report, was "apparently terminated after being
suspected of taking items from work.""

Doesn't the Personnel Department keep any records?
Don't people check previous employers and supervisors prior to hiring?

What kind of fucking idiots are up there?

Anonymous said...

Fucking idiots who will be working with a much smaller budget in FY'08, it sounds like.

Anonymous said...

Finally, someone has the balls to start cleaning up the trash. It's been building for awhile.

Anonymous said...

I do not understand the anger here.

1) We do it our selves. Maybe we are "exempt" employee's so we feel it is our right, or try to rationalize it by saying that if my kid was not using it for educational purposes it would have been scrapped. Stealing and misappropriation will always be rationalized. Otherwise there would not be a need for laws against it

2) We all know someone who is stealing or misappropriating equipment from the lab. Turning your back is the same as commiting the act. Get off of the soap box.

How many people have cell phones or pagers that are used for personal communication?

Let's take out the trash, but let's make sure the trash is correctly identified. You all know who you are. So does everyone else.

Anonymous said...

------------------------------
1) We do it our selves.
...
2) We all know someone who is stealing or misappropriating equipment from the lab.
------------------------------

Speak for yourself! I certainly don't steal from the lab, and I don't know of anybody else doing so!

Anonymous said...

You know, it's sad. I'm taking a week of home-based vacation but have a couple of deadlines to meet. I can't log into all of the yellow systems I need via Cryptocard from my ISP. Nor can I install the VPN client on my home computer, as it is now verboten. I gave up on owning a Laboratory laptop two years ago because I found myself using it too much for personal stuff. So, effectively, the lab no longer gets any free labor from me when I'm offsite. Yeah, I can read emails but most of those are just depressing.

On the plus side, I've got more free time for reading blogs.

Pinky and The Brain said...

We're here for ya, man.

Anonymous said...

I don't run off with Lab equipment, and I don't know anyone who does (and I'd give them hell if I did).

And since the budget cuts, I've turned in my lab cell phone and now have to make any urgent work-related calls on my personal cell. I would bet there are scores of us in the same position. Not an optimum situation, but hey, I have a job in an important place, they pay me OK and I can help out with the occasional few minutes on my calling plan. If I wasn't working, I wouldn't have ANY calling plan, so I guess it works out.

Why the rush to attack the whole lab and claim "we all know someone who is stealing. . " Do you have that much contempt for your fellow workers? No wonder morale's in the toilet, with poisonous comments like these being distributed!

I work with amazing people who are great at their jobs, take security and safety very seriously, and who think that supporting this place is the most important thing they can do. I'm sorry that some of the folks posting here evidently work in a different universe.

Anonymous said...

Speak for yourself! I certainly don't steal from the lab, and I don't know of anybody else doing so!


Based upon LANL policy any personal use is misappropriation. Sounds like a bad policy to me.

Anonymous said...

"1) We do it our selves. " 9:13 PM

Bullshit! No one in my family is ever allowed to touch my LANL laptop! It is used for travel, and not for letting Johnny do his homework.

Perhaps things are different in your household, 9:13pm? Perhaps some of LANL's "non-exempt" employees have a different take on things?

And the fact that someone terminated for stealing as a LANL employee is allowed back in as a contractor... and steals again! Unbelievable! TA-55 seems to be filled with nothing but crack-head dope dealers and thieves. What the hell is going on out there? Is this the result of rampant nepotism that has over-taken this facility?

Anonymous said...

"TA-55 seems to be filled with nothing but crack-head dope dealers and thieves. What the hell is going on out there?"

Actually, TA-55 is the prototype for our production-scale pit fab facility. NNSA liked what they saw at TA-55, and now they want to scale the operation up.

Anonymous said...

Why is this news?

LANS issued public statements on a case with pending charges. Isn't that against policy?

Somehow this must be an important case to address publicly. Unlike the LANS board classified material transmitted in the open over the web scandal.

Anonymous said...

"Somehow this must be an important case to address publicly. Unlike the LANS board classified material transmitted in the open over the web scandal."

Ah, but that was just "human error". This is different -- no LANS security issues are involved, so it's a big deal.

Wait a minute, that didn't quite sound right, did it?

Anonymous said...

"TA-55 seems to be filled with nothing but crack-head dope dealers and thieves. What the hell is going on out there?"

Thanks for stereotyping all of us who work at TA-55...Appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

What do you expect, 5:32? I mean after all: it was you crack dealing, thieving, pit-whore wannabees who got Bechtel thinking about turning LANL into RFP-South in the first place. What do you want: a medal?

Anonymous said...

7/18/07 8:03 am said, "Prior to being a contract employee, Maestas-Romero was employed by LANL, but, according to the police report, was "apparently terminated after being suspected of taking items from work.""

"Doesn't the Personnel Department keep any records? Don't people check previous employers and supervisors prior to hiring?"

Yes, the Lab does keep personnel records. If she got fired for being suspected of stealing she most likely threatened to sue or filed a suit and Lab Legal struck a deal with her saying that if anyone contacted LANL they would say only nice things about her. I have seen this done numerous times. Sometimes Lab Legal says that the employee can even be rehired by LANL after "x" amount of time. Go figure. So to answer your last question: yeah, 8:03, we do have f-in idiots up here and they are located in Lab Legal and we pay them large amounts of money.

Anonymous said...

8:29 PM - excellent point! Some people who come to mind are Chris Chandler, the dearly-departed Frank Dickson, Phil Kruger, and Rich Marquez ... anyone got similar stories on how these people have screwed up LANL?

K. Boland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Terminate, terminate, terminate

Supervisor who can't keep mouth shut...

Terminate, terminate, terminate

If LANL doesn't terminate, don't talk to me about a culture change. This one is a no-brainer.

Anonymous said...

How did this lady get the PIN for her supervisor's Cryptocard so she could order the stolen gear? That's the key question I would like to know.

Did her supervisor give it to her? If so, it was a cyber-security violation on the supervisor's part. Did he have the PIN written down? If so, another cause for an infraction.

Anonymous said...

Hey- 7/18/07 6:35 PM

Not all of us who work at TA-55 are associated with pit manufacturing. There are other programs *besides* pit building.

Get your facts straight jack @ss.

Anonymous said...

My kids use my work computer. That's why they are smarter than 12:15's little Johnny.

Now how did those weapons schematics get on his MySpace page?

Anonymous said...

I think the whole Safety Basis Division should be looked at real carefully. We have a Cheif of Staff T. Dominguez, who was so jealous of this workier that she herself go this investingation started only after learning that Maestas was leaving the lab in Sept to open up her own business. Maestas had e-mails giving her permission to purchase the monitor from her Division Leader,funny the papers didnt mention that, how they figure she stold it is beyond me. The Cheif of Staff herself has a 30 inch monitor at home along with a lap top, exempt or not the only thing she uses it for is to do her homework, and yes folks her kids do get on my space. Check it out S-12. Wake uP LANL Maestas never denied having, buying or taking anything home. As for her kids being on the net and it having personal information, who here at LANL doesn't have personal information on their machines? 37 inch monitors at SB-DO are not uncommon everyone there has 27 inches or bigger. What s-12 needs to investigate is why Tammy Dominguez, would approve time for the students in the division when they'd swipe in at 8:30 and leave by 3:30 or 4:00, I dont think Cheif of Staffs can approve time now can they. She, (Tammy) also logs on using her bosses crypto card to do his on line trainings for him. must be nice i wonder what else she does. s-12 also needs to look into Tammy's time since way back in Nov when she started being off EVERY Monday and her timesheet reports 9/80s??? Greg Smith another individual that works there claims 40 hour weeks but is off EVERY Monday and Thursday... Must be Nice and who is approving time you guessed it the Cheif of Staff. Maybe I ought to go work at 55, NOT...not w/ people like Tammy there. Im told she has a lot of people that hate her for what she did to her so called friend. Too many haters at teh the lab the only reason this all started was because many didnt like her for all the attention she got. She's better off w/ her own business anyhow. Good Luck to her.
As for contractors not being able to take property home then why did management allow her? Why did she have at property pass and a Property removal slip? Because SBDO does what they want and when they start investingating they wipe themselves w/ the admin...go figure

Anonymous said...

A thief is a thief no matter how you justify it. I would like to know how much more she got away with before she was caught. Pointing the finger at others is only another way of deflecting responsibility.

What’s it going to take for LANL employees to realize this is supposed to be a "new" company not to mention a National Laboratory supposedly held to higher standards and terminations for wrong doing should be the norm not the exception, instead of a raise or promotion TERMINATION is appropriate. For the most part, it’s about time LANL takes serious action not just providing lip service. On behalf of the other honest lab employees that value their jobs and don’t want to see another Congressional Hearing on LANL, THANK YOU. Now the lab only has 1999 bad apples to go so the rest of us can keep our jobs with all the budget cuts coming.