Former Visa Consultant Pleads Guilty to Federal Charge for Embezzling More Than $245,000 from Employer
Also Admits Collecting Fraudulent Unemployment Benefits
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 20, 2014|
WASHINGTON—Claudius Kai Kpakima, 34, of Silver Spring, Maryland, pled guilty today to a federal offense stemming from the embezzlement of more than $245,000 from his employer, a visa processing company, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr.; Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and Bryan Porter, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Alexandria, Virginia.
In a separate scheme, Kpakima admitted collecting more than $14,000 in fraudulent unemployment benefits.
Kpakima pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a charge of interstate transportation of stolen property. The Honorable Senior Judge Royce C. Lamberth scheduled sentencing for September 12, 2014. The charge carries a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison and financial penalties. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Kpakima faces a likely range of 46 to 57 months in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. The plea agreement calls for him to pay restitution of $246,191 to his former employer and another $14,615 to the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services.
According to the government’s evidence, Kpakima worked from May 2011 until November 2012 as a visa consultant for a company identified in court documents as “Company A,” a visa processing company that focused on obtaining expedited visas for individuals and corporate clients across the United States.
Kpakima performed visa processing and expediting duties, and he was able to request money orders from his supervisors through the company’s money order machine. He was required to provide a reason to supervisors for the money orders. Between May 2011 and November 2012, Kpakima fraudulently requested more than 2,900 money orders, which he then cashed at various establishments. He gave the establishments various reasons why he had the money orders, including a false claim that he got them in return for delivering passports.
All told, Kpakima obtained and cashed $246,191 in money orders, even though he was not entitled to any of this money.
In the second scheme, between July 2011 and June 2012, while Kpakima was working for “Company A,” he received $14,615 in fraudulent unemployment benefits from the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services. On at least 35 occasions, he recertified that he was eligible for these benefits when he was in fact working at “Company A.”
Kpakima has several previous convictions for theft and related activity. His plea agreement is part of a broader resolution that includes charges filed in the City of Alexandria, Virginia. A court appearance there is scheduled for October 2014.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director in Charge Parlave, and Commonwealth’s Attorney Porter commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI and the Alexandria Police Department. They also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney David Lord of the Alexandria Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, who is prosecuting the case in Virginia. They acknowledged the efforts of those who handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Catherine K. Connelly, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, who assisted with forfeiture issues; Paralegal Specialist Donna Galindo, and Intelligence Specialist Sharon Johnson. Finally, they thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip A. Selden, who is prosecuting the case in the District of Columbia.