Three more current or former Hanford workers have pleaded guilty to timecard fraud in federal court.
That brings the total to eight hourly workers who have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government by claiming overtime that was not worked at Hanford.
William Kim Jones, Darin Judy and Douglas Mallory are the latest to plead guilty. All worked as radiological control technicians for former Hanford tank farm contractor CH2M Hill Hanford Group.
Judy and Mallory continue to work for the current tank farm contractor, Washington River Protection Solutions.
It was accepted practice in the past at the tank farms, where 56 million gallons of radioactive waste is stored in underground tanks, to claim a full eight hours of overtime even though usually fewer hours were worked, according to documents filed in Eastern Washington U.S. District Court.
As part of a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Washington, Jones has agreed to pay a fine of $147,012 for a total of 4,209 hours of overtime claimed between Oct. 1, 2003, and Sept. 30, 2008. He left an average of three hours before the end of the eight-hour shift, according to court documents.
He has agreed not to appeal if a judge sentences him to not more than 18 months in prison.
However, for all three defendants, the federal attorney's office has agreed to recommend reducing the sentencing guidelines that apply if they provide continued assistance in the timecard fraud investigation, as needed.
The applicable sentencing guidelines, which consider many factors, will be determined by a judge.
Judy has agreed to pay a fine of $108,073 after claiming 2,320 hours of overtime from Oct. 1, 2004, to Sept. 30, 2008. He typically left four hours or more before the end of the eight-hour shift, according to court documents.
He has agreed not to appeal the sentence if a judge imposes a prison term of not longer than 16 months.
Mallory has agreed to pay $56,141 after claiming 2,411 hours of overtime between Oct. 1, 2003, and Sept. 30, 2008.
He typically left three hours or more before the end of the overtime shift, according to court documents.
He has agreed not to appeal the sentence if he receives a prison term of no more than a year.
Judy said he had heard workers use the phrase "eight or the gate," meaning that they would not accept an evening overtime shift after their normally scheduled hours unless it was offered and paid for in eight-hour blocks, according to his plea agreement.
At the beginning of the overtime shift, supervisors routinely would say "do it right and we can get out of here by 9 p.m." even though an eight-hour shift would end at 12:30 a.m., according to his plea agreement.
When the job was completed, workers would be told to "go to that place and do that thing that we do," when in fact there was no other place employees were to go or activity to complete, according to court documents.
The practice of claiming eight hours of overtime -- no matter how many were worked -- was so widespread Mallory knew of workers elsewhere at Hanford who were aware of the practice at the tank farms, according to his plea agreement.
Supervisors would indicate when they were leaving and make comments such as "make sure I leave first" to facilitate the timecard fraud and retain the ability to plausibly deny knowledge, according to court documents.
None of the three was ever admonished or reprimanded for claiming overtime on their timecards until law enforcement discovered the practice, according to court documents.
Jones, Mallory and Judy are expected to be sentenced in the spring.