A fifth former employee of CH2M Hill Hanford Group has been accused in federal court of submitting false time cards claiming pay for hours not worked at the Hanford tank farms.
Rhonda Lee Stamper has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the government in Eastern Washington U.S. District Court from Oct. 1, 2003, to Dec. 16, 2008.
Former CH2M Hill Hanford Group employees Lee Roberts, Joel Glen Radford, Carl Schroeder and Christian Davel Careaga already have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the federal government, but have not been sentenced.
Stamper could face a maximum of 10 years in jail and a fine of $250,000. However, under the plea agreement reached by Schroeder, he agreed not to appeal his sentence if the court imposes a prison term of one year or less and a fine of not more than $50,000.
The alleged fraud occurred when the Hanford tank farms, where 56 million gallons of radioactive waste is stored in underground tanks, were managed by former Department of Energy contractor CH2M Hill Hanford Group.
Stamper continues to work at the tank farms for Washington River Protection Solutions, which won the tank farm contract after CH2M Hill's contract expired.
She is accused of claiming a full eight hours of overtime on her time card when she worked a shorter shift. The full eight hours of pay was reimbursed to CH2M Hill by the Department of Energy.
According to court documents filed in Schroeder's case, employees working a swing shift from 4:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. would leave when the job requiring overtime was completed, but claim a full eight hours of overtime.
Stamper, Schroeder and Careaga each reported to a supervisor who received an anonymous text in May 2008 requesting that all workers on overtime that evening return to work or face disciplinary actions.
The supervisor verified that employees were not on site, according to court documents. He contacted multiple employees, including Stamper, and told them contrary to normal practice to only claim the hours that night that they worked, according to court documents.
The supervisor did not formally discipline any employees and continued after that night to approve time cards that included more hours than employees worked, according to court documents.
The court does not have an attorney listed for Stamper and she could not be reached for comment. An arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 1.