Ex-NSA worker guilty in contracts case

February 09, 2007|By a Sun reporter

A former National Security Agency employee pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday to steering more than $770,000 in government contracts involving the military service academies to companies in which he and his wife had financial interest, the U.S. attorney's office said.

Wayne J. Schepens, 37, of Severna Park, is scheduled to be sentenced April 6. He faces a maximum of five years in prison followed by three years of supervised probation and a $250,000 fine. Prosecutors said he worked for the NSA from 1998 until he resigned July 26.

"It is a crime for government employees to participate in awarding contracts that bring them personal financial gain," U.S. Attorney for Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement.

Prosecutors said that as part of his duties at the super-secret security agency at Fort Meade, Schepens co-created and directed Cyber Defense Exercise, in which teams of cadets and other students competed to protect computers from teams of hackers played by NSA employees.

The annual competition was first held in 2001 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Prosecutors said Schepens ran the competition, decided the scope of work for outside contractors, made recommendations on contracts, and advised whether funds should be obtained through competitive bidding or "as sole source procurements."

At the time, prosecutors said Schepens set up a company called JLSolutions, and his wife operated as chief executive two companies - called Schep Air and Engineering, and CDXperts - which were run out of the couple's home.

From March 2003 through July 2005, prosecutors said the three companies obtained contracts that exceeded $770,000 from the academy at West Point, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y., and the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.

Prosecutors said that much of the money was deposited into the couple's joint bank account and that Schepens did not file a financial disclosure noting the conflict until he learned of the investigation.

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