Dec 9, 2008

Lab Worker's Sentence OK'd

Albuquerque Journal Staff Report

ALBUQUERQUE — A federal appeals court has affirmed the sentence of a former Los Alamos National Laboratory worker who pleaded guilty to using bogus purchase orders to embezzle tens of thousand of dollars from the lab.

Dolores Mae Arreola, a former purchasing officer at the lab, pleaded guilty in March 2007 to one count of making false statements or entries, one count of theft or embezzlement of public money and one count of making a false, fictitious or fraudulent claim.

She appealed after being sentenced to four months in prison, four months of home detention and three years of supervised release. She was also ordered to pay restitution to the federal government and forfeit two vehicles she acquired through the scam.

A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver affirmed her sentence in a 15-page ruling filed Monday.

The panel found that Arreola's sentence was “procedurally reasonable” given that she had a position of trust at the lab and had the power to grant exceptions to the lab's procurement policies.

Arreola was fired from the lab in July 2005 after the embezzlement scheme was uncovered.

According to court documents, she used her position to funnel money into a land grant association, which she served as president. She then arranged for the Santo Domingo de Cundiyo Heirs Association to be recognized in the lab's procurement system as an authorized vendor.

She stated the association was awarded contracts and purchase orders worth more than $55,000 on three separate occasions — none of which had anything to do with land grants. Arreola would deposit the checks made out to the land grant association in its bank account and then withdraw the money.

On the third occasion, lab officials discovered the scam and the bank froze the account.


Anonymous said...

And yet Jessica Quintana stole large quantities of secret-rd and secret-nsi information, and simply got probation.

Apparently, stealing money is a crime more worthy of prison time than stealing information that could help get millions of people killed.

I will never forget how Jessica betrayed her oath, trust, position, coworkers and her country and I will hold her in much greater contempt than someone who stole a bunch of money.

Anonymous said...

JQ didn't "betray her workers". She worked for a small, minority owned firm that was improperly vetted for their contract. She had no loyalty to LANL because she wasn't a long term LANL employee. Unfortunately, everyone left as a true employee of LANL gets to suffer the punishment for her stupid actions.

Anonymous said...

8:45 pm: "JQ didn't "betray her workers". She worked for a small, minority owned firm that was improperly vetted for their contract. She had no loyalty to LANL because she wasn't a long term LANL employee."

It isn't about loyalty to a company. The point is, as a clearance holder, she betrayed her COUNTRY and ought to be in jail.

Anonymous said...

Rest assured, she is not the only person whose done this????

Anonymous said...

Given the abuse that they put on Lillian Anaya over the non-Mustang case, this woman got off very lightly. And, it would seem that she has no remorse at all!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the Mustang- does any know the true story? If Anaya is not guilty, then someone either at the company or elsewhere did order this car. However, all most of us have heard is she was innocent per Pete Nanos - end of the story.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that she did NOT order the car. People at the company saw she had a gov't credit card and decide to have a little fun and see if anyone noticed.

Anonymous said...

Fun is fun; but ordering a car and charging it to the government is a crime even if you were just kidding. Especially if you have set up the scan to reflect it was ordered by another person. I assume from the 8:26 comment above that no one was charged and the whole incident was written off by the police as a prank. Unfortunately for LANL and its workers, we all suffered and this "fun" to see if anyone noticed started LANL on the road to our current situation by having Congress notice that we were charging cars, losing equipment, etc.

Anonymous said...

Lillian Anaya got a settlement of $500K. I think that says it all!

Anonymous said...

And yet, to this day, CBS News and other news outlets still report on this infamous Mustang story as if it is still true.

It lives on with a life all it's own.

Anonymous said...

If someone "decided to have a little fun with a government credit card and see if anyone noticed" and no one did would the mustang still have been charged? If Anaya was not involved and it appears she was not, why cannot someone tell everyone what happened, why, and the final result? Finally, if something is approached as a prank, then is it a never mind moment if discovered. I would hate for someone to "decide to have a little fun and see if anyone noticed" if a person was set up to be robbed, raped, killed, etc. Seems to me we are setting up cases where if the crime does not happen you can always say just kidding- wanted to see if anyone noticed!

Frank Young said...

I think this story will answer everyone's questions.

Mustang purchase on lab credit card called a goof by Ian Hoffman, Oakland Tribune, June 30, 2003.