Former OPM employees plead guilty to stealing $27,000

Two accounting technicians who formerly worked at the Office of Personnel Management pleaded guilty late last week to stealing more than $27,000 from the government.

According to the guilty pleas entered in the Washington, D.C., U.S. District Court, the two technicians diverted federal funds into private accounts between July 2006 and January 2007. They worked together to steal $27,510, a statement from U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor indicated. The two admitted that they "knowingly and willfully acted without authority or permission," the statement said.

The former OPM employees will be sentenced on Nov. 2, and face up to 10 years in prison. Taylor said the likely sentence is "six months in jail, home confinement and/or probation."

When the theft came to OPM's attention, the agency turned the investigation over to its inspector general, Patrick McFarland. OPM cooperated with the short investigation, which led to the guilty pleas.

OPM Director Linda Springer said the agency has responded to the problem and maintains high security standards. "As stewards of the public trust, we have a responsibility to ensure against fraud, and we have checks and balances in place to uphold sound fiscal accountability," she said in a statement.

OPM could not be reached Monday or Tuesday for further comment.

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