Top Obama Official Pleads Guilty to Defrauding U.S Government
Former DHS inspector general Charles K. Edwards pleads guilty to conspiracy charges
One of former President Barack Obama's top administration officials has pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States government.
Charles K. Edwards, who served as Obama's acting Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from 2011 to 2013, pleaded guilty on Friday to stealing government software and databases.
According to a report from the Justice Department (DOJ), Edwards schemed to steal confidential information from the government to use for his own company after he left.
Edwards’ crimes were committed after his time at the DHS, however.
He stole software and confidential government data from the DHS from 2015 to 2017 and used it to enrich himself through his company Delta Business Solutions Inc. in Maryland.
The theft helped Edwards’ company develop a case management system that it could sell to the government for vast sums of taxpayer cash.
Edwards resigned from the DHS OIG in 2013 amid a Senate investigation into whether he had delayed investigations and softened reports, claims he denied, according to Fox News.
"Others accused him of retaliating or threatening to retaliate against staff who resisted him.
"Other claims included that he used staff to do personal work for him.”
The Post also noted that Edwards was already under investigation for allegedly trying to soften reports “to keep from embarrassing the Obama administration.”
“I am very disturbed that false allegations have been made against me,” Edwards said after a Senate investigation was launched.
“[B]ut more importantly, I am very concerned that this matter may negatively impact the important oversight work of the Office of Inspector General …
"I will defend myself against these personal attacks.”
Edwards pleaded guilty in a district court in D.C. to “conspiracy to commit theft of government property.”
A second defendant pleaded not guilty to the same charges. Murali Y. Venkata, an information technology specialist who worked with Edwards, was also charged.
Both Edwards and Venkata were charged with conspiring to steal government property, stealing government property, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and aiding and abetting. Venkata was additionally charged with the destruction of government records, to which he also pleaded not guilty.
Edwards will be sentenced later, and the DOJ did not disclose how long of a sentence he will face.
"A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors," the report notes
The DHS and its leadership have come under fire in the past year for its handling of the border crisis.
In August, Republican Chip Roy (R-TX) called for DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to be impeached in response to staggering statistics on border encounters recorded in July 2021.
"Over the past several months, President Biden and Sec. Mayorkas have blatantly and consistently refused to do their constitutional duty to take care that the immigration laws be faithfully executed, as required by Article II, endangering countless American and foreign lives in the process," Roy said in a statement.