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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEFor Information, Contact Public Affairs
Tuesday, December 12, 2006Channing Phillips (202) 514-6933

Two former Government Printing Office employees sentenced for theft and sale of government property

Washington, D.C. - Two former Government Printing Office employees have been sentenced for the theft and sale of government property, U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Taylor and James Anthony Ogden, Acting Inspector General of the U.S. Government Printing Office, announced today.

On December 11, 2006, Michael Potts, 51, of Lanham, Maryland, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo M. Urbina to 5 months in jail, to be followed by 6 months of home confinement and three years of supervised release, for theft of government property, a federal offense. Potts was ordered to begin serving his sentence immediately. Today, Michael Potts' wife, Karren Potts, 42, was sentenced by Judge Urbina to 24 months of probation for trafficking in stolen property, a District of Columbia Code offense. In addition, Michael Potts was ordered to pay $111,025.89 in restitution, and Karren Potts was ordered to pay $6,197.00 in restitution.

According to the government's investigation, Michael Potts was employed at the U.S. Government Printing Office ("GPO") between September 2000 and August 2006. Between October 2002 and July 2006, Michael Potts improperly used different GPO account codes to steal a total of 4,430 printer ink cartridges ("cartridges") from the GPO General Store and the GPO Self Service Store.

Michael Potts placed orders and received cartridges in the following ways: on some occasions, Michael Potts used GPO computers to access the GPO mainframe, through which he placed orders for cartridges at the GPO General Store. These cartridges were then either delivered directly to Michael Potts, or Michael Potts would go in person to the GPO General Store to pick up the cartridges. In other instances, Michael Potts would go to the GPO Self Service Store, and take cartridges directly from the store shelves. To order the cartridges, Michael Potts used cost codes that he was not supposed to be accessing.

Each time Michael Potts ordered a printer cartridge using an account code, the GPO division associated with that code was charged the cost of the cartridge. The total loss suffered by GPO as a result of Potts' theft of the cartridges was $111,025.89. Michael Potts resold the majority of these cartridges to a pawnshop in Bladensburg, Maryland.

After GPO's Human Capital Department found discrepancies during a budget review, the office alerted GPO's Office of the Inspector General, which is charged with investigating fraud, waste and abuse. When confronted by GPO Office of the Inspector General Special Agents regarding the stolen cartridges, Michael Potts told the investigators that he felt justified in taking the cartridges from GPO because the monetary cost to GPO paled in comparison to the billions of dollars President Bush was spending in Iraq.

Karren Potts was employed at GPO between April of 1985 and September of 2006. Between October of 2003 and August of 2005, Karren Potts resold printer ink cartridges stolen from GPO by Michael Potts to a pawnshop in Bladensburg, Maryland, on 42 separate occasions. During some of the months in this period, she sold stolen cartridges to the pawnshop on a weekly basis. Karren Potts sold a total of 229 stolen cartridges. Each of these cartridges was stolen from GPO by Michael Potts. The 229 printer ink cartridges sold by Karren Potts cost various divisions at GPO $6,197.00. At the time Karren Potts sold each of the cartridges to the pawnshop, she knew that the cartridges had been stolen from GPO.

In announcing the sentences, U.S. Attorney Taylor and Acting Inspector General Ogden commended the outstanding investigative work of Office of Inspector General Special Agents Hugh D. Coughlin, Walter B. Martin IV, and Special Agent in Charge Jeff McAboy, all of whom were under the supervision of Assistant Inspector General for Investigations Ronald J. Koch. They also praised Legal Assistant Latoya Wade and Paralegal Specialist Kim Hall, both of whom provided litigation support, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine K. Connelly, who prosecuted the case.

 
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