Another Hanford worker has pleaded guilty to timecard fraud, admitting to claiming overtime for hours not worked at the nuclear reservation's tank farms after a charge was filed earlier this summer.
Rhonda Lee Stamper has signed a plea agreement entered in Eastern Washington U.S. District Court to pay a fine of $119,495.
She was charged with conspiracy to defraud the federal government, a charge that can carry prison time.
However, if she provides "substantial assistance" in the investigation and prosecution of Hanford timecard fraud cases, the U.S. Attorney's Office would be willing to recommend less than the minimum sentencing guidelines, according to the plea agreement.
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The guidelines that apply will be decided by a federal judge with the help of information in a presentence investigation report.
Stamper, who works for current Hanford tank farm contractor Washington River Protection Solutions, faces accusations of timecard fraud from when she worked for its predecessor, CH2M Hill Hanford Group, as a radiological control technician.
At issue are timecards she filled out during the five years until October 2008.
Court documents say it was common practice then for hourly workers at the tank farms to claim a full eight hours of overtime when they worked the swing shift from 4:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., even if the work took significantly less time. Employees would go home when their work was completed.
The timecards, showing eight hours worked, were electronically approved by a supervisor, according to court documents.
However, the Department of Energy would not have reimbursed CH2M Hill's labor costs if it had known the time claimed was not worked, according to court documents.
In the case of the five former CH2M Hill employees who have pleaded guilty in Hanford timecard cases, a supervisor allegedly contacted them in May 2008 to warn them they might be under surveillance and to only claim the hours worked on their timecards.
Accurately recording hours worked already was required by CH2M Hill written procedures, according to court documents.
After May 2008 timecards continued to be approved with a full eight hours of overtime claimed, according to court documents.
Stamper admitted claiming at least 2,887 hours of overtime. She is scheduled for sentencing in March.
-- Annette Cary: 582-1533; email@example.com