- The Washington Times - Friday, March 2, 2007

A former Defense Department official yesterday pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of embezzling more than $100,000 in funds destined for use by government intelligence agents, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher said.

John Taylor, who worked at the department as an intelligence contingency-funds officer, admitted in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that he stole the money while assigned to the 500th Military Intelligence Brigade as part of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command at Camp Zama, Japan.

In his Defense Department role, Mrs. Fisher said, Taylor was responsible for budgeting, disbursing and accounting for intelligence contingency funds for the official duties of government intelligence agents. She said he also was required to manage classified bank accounts and supervise agents engaged in classified intelligence-gathering activity.

As part of a plea agreement in the case, she said, Taylor admitted that from 2003 through January 2006, he used his official position to steal at least $106,000 in department funds designated for intelligence-related activities.

She said Taylor embezzled the money by withdrawing cash from a government bank account whose funds were intended for intelligence agents. To conceal his acts, she said, Taylor falsified Defense Department accounting vouchers and forms.

Theft or embezzlement from the government carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing was set for June 8.

The case was prosecuted by James A. Crowell IV and John P. Pearson of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section and the FBI and the Criminal Investigation Division of the U.S. Army, in support of the Justice Department’s National Procurement Fraud Task Force and the International Contract Corruption Initiative.

The National Procurement Fraud Initiative was announced by Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty in October and is designed to promote the early detection, identification, prevention and prosecution of procurement fraud associated with the increase in contracting activity for national security and other government programs.

As part of this initiative, Mr. McNulty has created the National Procurement Fraud Task Force, which is chaired by Mrs. Fisher.

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