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Thursday, March 30, 2023

InfoTek CEO Convicted of Submitting False Claims for Hours Worked on NSA Contract

Between March 14, 2016 and September 30, 2017, InfoTeK billed NSA for 2,603.5 hours of work on the Ironbridge contract purportedly performed by McComber in her role as Senior Program Manager.

A federal jury convicted Jacky Lynn McComber (formerly Jacky Lynn Kimmel), age 50, of Elkridge, Maryland, on federal charges of submitting false claims and making false statements, in connection with the hours she claimed to have worked on a federal contract with the National Security Agency (NSA).  McComber was the CEO and owner of InfoTeK, an information technology (IT) services corporation, which had an ongoing contract with the NSA.

The guilty verdict was announced by Erek L. Barron, United States Attorney for the District of Maryland; Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Kevin Gerrity, Acting Inspector General of the National Security Agency; and Robert P. Storch, Inspector General of the Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service.

According to evidence presented at trial, from July 2011 until March 2018, the NSA had an ongoing contract, known as the Ironbridge contract, with InfoTeK to provide maintenance and enhancement support for the information technology and software requirements of the NSA’s National Security Operations Center (NSOC) and the Counter Terrorism Mission Management Center (CTMMC).  Because the subject matter of these contracts involved classified information, most of the work had to be performed at secure, access-controlled locations and there were severe limitations on the amount of work that could be performed off-site.  InfoTeK billed the NSA monthly for the hours worked by its employees and contractors.

According to the evidence presented at the four-week trial, the Ironbridge contract required InfoTeK to identify a Program Manager (PM) who would be responsible for overseeing InfoTeK’s performance of its contractual obligations and serve as InfoTeK’s point of contact with government officials.  From 2011 to 2013, several individuals, including McComber, served as the PM on the Ironbridge contract.  Starting in the summer of 2013, Individual A held the position of Senior Program Manager on the Ironbridge contract, until she was replaced by McComber in mid-March 2016.  McComber held the position through September 2017.  According to trial testimony, for 17 months, beginning in mid-March 2016 when McComber took over the PM position, she billed an average of 144 hours per month to the NSA for her supposed work.  In all, between March 14, 2016 and September 30, 2017, InfoTeK billed NSA for 2,603.5 hours of work on the Ironbridge contract purportedly performed by McComber in her role as Senior Program Manager.  NSA paid these charges in full, at a total cost of $388,878.78.

A subsequent review and comparison by the NSA OIG in the fall of 2017 of McComber’s NSA access control records with the time InfoTeK billed for her work on the Ironbridge contracts established that McComber was not within access control at the NSA’s Fort Meade location for 2,342.5 (90%) of the 2.603.5 hours she had recorded on her timesheets and that InfoTeK subsequently billed to NSA.  In addition to not being physically present at the worksite for the vast majority of hours she billed to the Ironbridge contract, the evidence showed that McComber did not work the number of hours on the Ironbridge contract that she recorded on her timesheet.  For example, on occasions when McComber billed a full eight-hour day to the Ironbridge contract, she participated in charity events, attended her high school reunion, vacationed in Texas and in Ocean City, Maryland, and performed business development efforts on behalf of InfoTeK that were unrelated to the Ironbridge contract.  Other testimony by former InfoTeK officers indicated that McComber was only in InfoTeK’s Columbia, Maryland offices irregularly and when she was there, she did not appear to be working on Ironbridge-related matters.  As a result of McComber’s false claims as to the time she worked on the Ironbridge contract between March 2016 and September 2017, the NSA substantially overpaid InfoTeK.

As further detailed in trial testimony, on October 3, 2017, McComber participated in a voluntary interview with NSA OIG investigators concerning allegations received from a whistleblower that she had charged the government for hours that she did not actually work.  McComber falsely claimed that her consistent billings of eight hours per day spent on Ironbridge-related work most days were legitimate and that she did not falsely fill out her timesheet or put any false information on it.

McComber faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for each of 19 counts of submitting false claims and for one count of making false statements.  U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander has scheduled sentencing for May 12, 2023.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron and Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite commended the National Security Agency Office of Inspector General and DCIS for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Barron and Mr. Polite thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Jefferson M. Gray and Trial Attorney Peter L. Cooch of the Justice Department’s Fraud Section, who are prosecuting the case.

Read more at the Justice Department

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