The former acting director of intelligence for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement pleaded guilty Tuesday to embezzling more than $180,000 in a scheme using bogus travel vouchers and timesheet claims.
James M. Woosley, 48, pleaded guilty in federal court in the District of Columbia to a charge of conversion of government money. Woosley faces a likely sentence of a 18 to 27 months in prison at his sentencing, scheduled for July 13.
"(Woosley) abused his sensitive position of trust to fleece the government by submitting phony paperwork for and taking kickbacks from subordinates who were also on the take," said Ronald Machen Jr., U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
Four others, including Woosley's girlfriend, have pleaded guilty in the scheme which cost taxpayers more than $600,000. Woosley was the top ranking ICE employee to plead guilty. The investigation is on-going, prosecutors said.
Woosley's assistant, Lateisha M. Rollerson, 38, of Bowie, pleaded guilty to similar charges in March. Woosley first met Rollerson in 2007, and "developed a close, personal relationship," before getting her a job at ICE headquarters.
In 2009, he was named acting director of the intelligence office, and Rollerson became her personal assistant. They lived together in Virginia, and she paid both of their personal bills using money from the scheme, charging documents said.
Rollerson admitted to creating at least $300,000 in false hotel receipts and travel vouchers for employees, including Woosley, and his adult son, who worked for ICE as a contractor, charging papers said.
The travel fraud scheme began about June 2008 when Stephen Henderson, an ICE contractor who was detailed on temporary duty to Washington, asked to make fraudulent hotel receipts for a travel vouchers to pay back a travel advance from the company for which he worked. Rollerson approached Woosley about the scheme, and he approved the request, documents state.