AO 91 (Rev 08/09) Crimmal Complaint

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

for the

District of Maryland

United States of America v.

RHAYDA BARNES-THOMAS

) ) ) ) ) )

Case No. / I - / f tjy Jt:-5

Defendamts)

CRIMINAL COMPLAINT

I, the complainant in this case, state that the following is true to the best of my knowledge and belief.

On or about the date(s) of On or about January 12, 2011 in the county of Charles in the

District of __ ---'-'M_,_"a,,_ryJ..'I""a!.!nd"'-- __ , the defendant(s) violated:

Code Section 18 U.S.C. Section 666

Offense Description Theft concerning programs receiving Federal funds

18 U.S.C. Section 1001

False statements

This criminal complaint is based on these facts:

See Attachment

~ Continued on the attached sheet.

!

Nathan Marceca, Special Agent, Dep't of Ed. OIG

Printed name and title

Sworn to before me and signed in my presence.

Date: 03/30/2011

City and state: Greenbelt, Maryland

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jillyn K. Schulze

Printed name and title

/ /_ /lj(/Y j7c5 /Jusll- ~v

AFFIDAVIT

1. I, Nathan A. Marceca, Special Agent, Department of Education - Office of Inspector

General ("DIG"), being duly sworn, depose and state as follows:

2. I have been employed as a Special Agent by the DIG since February 2004 and also hold a

Masters Degree in Public Administration. As part of my duties, I am authorized to conduct investigations in connection with the administration and enforcement of laws, regulations, orders, contracts and programs in which the Department of Education ("ED") is or may be a party of interest, and perform other duties on behalf of the Secretary of Education. One of my duties as a Special Agent is to investigate suspected criminal activities involving ED programs such as Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. § 6301 et seq.). As a Special Agent with ED/DIG, I received criminal investigator training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and the Inspector General Criminal Investigator Academy. I have participated in numerous criminal investigations and have trained and participated in the preparation, service and execution of criminal complaints, arrests, and search warrants. For the purpose of applying for this criminal complaint and arrest warrant, I am a federal law enforcement officer under the applicable provisions of the United States Code and under Rule 41(a) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

3. The information set forth in this Affidavit is known to me as a result of investigation

personally conducted by me and by other law enforcement agents.

4. This Affidavit is being submitted for the limited purpose of supporting an application for a criminal complaint. Thus, I have not set forth each and every fact learned during the course of the investigation. In addition, where conversations or statements are related herein, they are

related in substance and in part except where otherwise indicated.

5. This Affidavit is respectfully submitted in support of an application for the issuance of a

criminal complaint for RHA YDA BARNES-THOMAS.

6. The facts and circumstances set forth below in this Affidavit demonstrate that there is

probable cause to believe that BARNES-THOMAS has committed the offenses of: (1) theft concerning programs receiving Federal funds, in violation of 18 U.S.c. § 666; and (2) making false statements, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001.

FACTS SUPPORTING PROBABLE CAUSE

7. The United States Department of Education provides federal funding to certain public

school districts with enrollment of low-income families to help ensure that all children meet appropriate academic standards. These funds, informally called "Title I grants," are allocated through four statutory formulas that are based primarily on census poverty estimates and the cost of education in each state. Typical uses of Title I funding includes purchasing equipment for classroom education.

8. At all times relevant to this matter, the Charles County (Maryland) Public Schools

("CCPS") has been a recipient of Title I funding.

9. Since approximately 2006, BARNES-THOMAS has been the "Title I coordinator" for

CCPS. As the Title I coordinator, BARNES-THOMAS was assigned the task of managing CCPS's Title I funding, including overseeing the purchases of certain technology equipment for use in CCPS classrooms.

10. In or about October 2010, CCPS officials began investigating four missing Apple laptop

computers belonging to CCPS that had been purchased using Title I funds. Two of these

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computers had been taken without authorization by two employees of CCPS and subsequently recovered. However, two remained missing. A senior CCPS official asked BARNESTHOMAS, who managed CCPS's Title I funds, whether BARNES-THOMAS had ever purchased Apple laptops with Title I funds, and BARNES-THOMAS denied ever doing so.

II. On or about December 20, 20 I 0, a box with the two remaining missing Apple laptop

computers was found on the sidewalk adjacent to a CCPS building. The box had been placed there deliberately and anonymously. Also inside the box was a newspaper article referencing CCPS's investigation of the missing laptop computers.

12. Immediately thereafter, senior CCPS officials performed an audit and inventory of all

Title I purchases made by BARNES-THOMAS. This audit revealed highly unusual purchases conducted by BARNES-THOMAS using Title I funds, including multiple Nintendo Wii consoles, Nintendo Wii games, Sony PlayStation 3 consoles, Apple products (including iPods, iPads, and Macbook computers), and televisions of various sizes. Law enforcement agents subsequently discovered that documentation purporting to contain signatures of BARNESTHOMAS's supervisor approving these purchases had been forged.

13. An internal audit by CCPS has revealed over 200 items purchased with Title I funding (at a cost of over $100,000) that is presently unaccounted for. The vast majority of these items were purchased under BARNES-THOMAS's name.

14. Through investigation by the Charles County Sheriffs Office and your affiant, law

enforcement has determined that BARNES-THOMAS distributed a substantial amount of these stolen items by: (1) keeping the items for her personal use and the use of family members; and (2) giving the items away.

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15. First, law enforcement agents executed two search warrants at the residence of BARNES-

THOMAS and a third search warrant at the residence ofBARNES-THOMAS's daughter in

January and March 2011. These searches revealed that within BARNES-THOMAS's home were

multiple items purchased using Title I funds that were being used inappropriately by BARNES-

THOMAS and/or her children, including:

1-,-.-~-5!:'._-'f]£~l:lf·.· i~~ri;l"_}_;~;)1g:t:_t!::i\:_1-_.1:: ";~1f~t'< . ~[[;c,';,}r~V- ·r:A:;:;mg·:·:t~~~tiori'~~;d.{':;:.·\,f;i~i:-\r
Apple MacBook Pro $1599 Apartment of BARNES-
THOMAS's daughter
Toshiba 32AVS02R 32- $544.49 Bedroom of BARNES-
inch TV THOMAS's son
Samsung LN22A450 22" $383.72 Apartment of BARNES-
LCOtv THOMAS's daughter
Apple iPod Touch 32GB $299 Bedroom of BARNES-
THOMAS's daughter
Apple iPod Touch 32GB $299 Bedroom of BARNES-
THOMAS's son
Apple iPod Touch 32GB $299 Family room of BARNES-
THOMAS residence
Nintendo Wii $209.83 Apartment of BARNES-
THOMAS's daughter
Nintendo OS Lite game $137.56 Bedroom of BARNES-
system THOMAS's son
Magellan Maestro GPS $185.22 Vehicle of BARNES-
device THOMAS's daughter 16. Second, law enforcement agents have interviewed a witness who stated that BARNES-

THOMAS provided multiple technology items as gifts to the witness and her children. The items

matched exactly some of the items purchased with CCPS Title I funds.

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17. On March 11, 2011 , BARNES-THOMAS agreed to participate in a voluntary interview

by a special agent of the United States Department of Education, Office of Inspector General, and the Assistant United States Attorney assigned to this investigation at the United States Attorney's Office in Greenbelt, Maryland. BARNES-THOMAS was accompanied by her attorney, and was specifically advised that this interview was voluntary in all respects. BARNES-THOMAS was also warned that any statements she made during this interview could be used against her in any criminal proceeding.

18. During the interview, BARNES-THOMAS admitted that she knew that the Sony

PlayStation 3 found at her home, and the Samsung television and the Magellan GPS device found with her daughter (among other items) were purchased with Title I funding and that it was not appropriate for BARNES-THOMAS to have kept these items.

] 9. However, BARNES-THOMAS emphatically denied that the Apple Macbook computer

found with her daughter was purchased with Title I funding. In fact, BARNES-THOMAS stated that this computer was purchased as ajoint graduation present by BARNES-THOMAS and her parents. Specifically, BARNES-THOMAS stated that she had given $500 to her parents, and that her parents used the $500 and some of their own funds to purchase this Apple Macbook computer.

20. Despite giving repeated opportunities to clarify the record, BARNES-THOMAS denied

inappropriately possessing any other items purchased with Title I funding.

21. BARNES-THOMAS also provided your affiant with a receipt purporting to

establish that she had purchased legitimately a television in November 20] 0 at a retail store in Waldorf, Maryland.

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22. BARNES-THOMAS's made multiple false statements during this interview, insofar as:

(1) the Apple Macbook found in BARNES-THOMAS's daughter's possession was purchased with Title I funds and not by BARNES-THOMAS's parents (the serial number of the computer matched a receipt from Apple showing that the computer was purchased with Title I funds); and (2) the documentation purporting to show a legitimate purchase of a television in November 2010 was, in fact, a forged document.

23. On March 24, 2011, BARNES-THOMAS agreed again to participate in a voluntary

interview by your affiant and the Assistant United States Attorney assigned to this investigation at the United States Attorney's Office in Greenbelt, Maryland. BARNES-THOMAS was accompanied by her attorney, and was specifically advised that this interview was voluntary in all respects. BARNES-THOMAS was also warned that any statements she made during this interview could be used against her in any criminal proceeding. In this meeting, BARNESTHOMAS admitted that she had inappropriately kept items purchased with Title I funds for her personal use and the use of her family. In addition to the items referenced in Paragraph 15 of this affidavit, BARNES admitted that she kept inappropriately the following items purchased with Title I funds: two Sony laptop computers, an Epson printer, a Sony DVD burner, headphones, and Nintendo Wii games. In addition, BARNES-THOMAS also admitted that she was aware at all times that the above-referenced Apple MacBook computer had been purchased with Title I funds, and that she knowingly made a false statement to investigators concerning the source of the Apple MacBook during her March 11, 2011 meeting with investigators. Also, BARNESTHOMAS admitted that the receipt she provided to investigators was a fraudulent document that she had created.

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CONCLUSION

24. Based on the facts set forth above, your Affiant submits respectfully that there is probable

cause to establish that BARNES-THOMAS has committed the offenses of: (1) theft concerning

programs receiving Federal funds, in violation of 18 U.S.c. § 666; and (2) making false

statements, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001. Your affiant respectfully requests that a criminal

complaint be issued, as prayed.

Na an Ma ceca Special Agent

Department of Education - Office of Inspector General

Sworn and subscribed to this 30th day of March 20] 1.

4#.sCh~~

United States Magistrate Judge District of Maryland

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