State Dept. employee with hidden marriage pleads guilty to felony charges

Follow-up to a story from last July, in which a State Department “contract specialist” was found to be secretly married to a contractor who won over $50 million in contracts from her department, courtesy of the Daily Caller:

The Fairfax News reports Kathleen McGrade and Brian Collinsworth pleaded guilty August 2nd to “major fraud against the government, conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions.” They will be sentenced on Nov. 8, 2013.

“Defendants McGrade and Collinsworth — now convicted felons — defrauded and stole from the American people, plain and simple,” said U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride.  “We, along with our law enforcement partners, are committed to ferreting out and prosecuting those that destroy the integrity of the government contracting process.”

In 2006, McGrade and Collinsworth married each other without telling the State Department, where McGrade worked as a contract negotiator. They both started a construction company, the Sterling Royale Group, and McGrade quickly obtained a State Department contract enabling SRG to do work at embassies without disclosing her family ties to the company. Collinsworth was SRG’s VP while McGrade’s daughter from a previous marriage, Jennifer Herring, was its president and CEO.

From 2008 to 2011, McGrade used her job at the State Department to steer 17 government contracts to SRG worth a total of $52 million. Both McGrade and Collinsworth lied about their married status after they underwent State Department security clearances.

Our tax money is in the best of hands, isn’t it?

The extensive State Department clearance process failed to discover Mr. Collinsworth’s MySpace page, on which he openly boasted of being married to Ms. McGrade, complete with wedding photos.  Somehow the same bloated mega-government that’s been shoveling terabytes of our email data into storage vaults failed to notice that.  The Daily Caller found it, which put paid to Collinsworth’s angry denials that he was married to the government functionary who was steering million-dollar contracts into his coffers.  Shortly afterward, the State Department put paid to her career.  Now it looks like they’re off to the Gray Bar Hotel.

Adding insult to injury, the Caller says the couple subcontracted the actual work, blowing the millions they skimmed off the top to buy “extravagant luxuries such as a Lexus, a Steinway piano, houses, and a 36.5-foot-yacht called the Sterling Royale.

They sound like masters of Obamanomics.  If they had followed the traditional Treasury-looting protocol of founding a “green energy” company, they’d be working for the White House by now.  Well, at least we can take comfort in knowing that their prosecution has made the government 0.000000001 percent less corrupt.