Ex-Army civilian employee is accused of stealing funds to fuel no-show job for girlfriend, fund 31 trips to Florida
By NOAH R. BOMBARD | MassLive.com, Springfield, Mass. | Published: July 10, 2020
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (Tribune News Service) — They took trips to Disney parks during work hours, stayed in hotels together and flew to Orlando 31 times, all at the taxpayers’ expense. But the Department of Justice says it was all part of an elaborate scheme between a civilian contractor and his girlfriend to defraud the federal government of thousands of dollars over a four-year period.
Thomas Bouchard, 57, of Uxbridge, was arrested Thursday and charged with one count of conspiracy and 10 counts of theft of government funds. Chantelle Boyd, 50, of Woodsboro, Maryland, has also been arrested and faces the same charges as well as being charged with making false declarations before the grand jury.
The government alleges Bouchard created a “no-show” job for his girlfriend and that together the two stole thousands of dollars from taxpayers to fuel their Florida getaways.
The two met in 2007, while Boyd was working as a bartender at the Courtyard Marriot in Fredrick, Maryland, where Bouchard stayed frequently on business trips.
The two became friendly, the Department of Justice said.
At the time, Bouchard, an Army civilian employee, was the deputy chief of the Natick Contracting Division, headquartered at the U.S. Army Natick Soldiers System Center where he’d worked his way up through the ranks since joining in 1998. He became chief of the NCD in 2016.
But in 2014, Bouchard was approached by the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense about concerns over his responsiveness to contracts. The program funded two employees to support the Natick Contracting Division.
According to the indictment, Bouchard recommended Boyd be hired as an assistant to increase his responsiveness. Bouchard said he had worked with Boyd, although the Department of Justice alleges that was never the case. The minimum qualifications for the job were to have government contracting experience and a college degree. Boyd had neither, the DOJ alleges.
The government alleges Bouchard then edited a copy of Boyd’s resume to “enhance her application for the job” of program acquisition specialist for Evolution Enterprises in San Diego, California, a company contracted by Natick to provide services and specialists to assist Natick Contracting.
Without a formal interview, Boyd was hired as Bouchard’s personal assistant with a starting salary of $65,000 a year, funded by the Department of Defense.
“During her tenure at EEI, Boyd conducted very little in the way of documented work product,” the DOJ alleges in the indictment. “Boyd completed nine online courses in the basics of government contracting offered through the Defense Acquisition University.”
Despite being required to submit weekly reports of work completed, in four years of employment, the government alleges Boyd only submitted 9 weekly updates.
Instead, the government alleges Bouchard and Boyd took 31 trips to Orlando in which little to no work was performed. In the indictment, the two are accused of visiting Disney parks during work hours, spending time at the pool and waterslide at the resort hotel. Despite the numerous trips, the Department of Justice says no one else at the Natick Contracting Division of which Bouchard would become chief of ever met Boyd “or even recognized her name.”
The government alleges the two falsified hotel receipts to make it look like they had two separate rooms, but in fact, had both stayed in the same room. Boyd is accused of lying about this to a Grand Jury.
Bouchard approved all the travel vouchers and the costs of the trips were reimbursed to them, the DOJ said.
The trips continued over a four-year period, the government alleges, ending in 2018. Bouchard’s position with Natick Contracting Division ended in April 2018.
Boyd’s position cost the Department of Defense more than $490,000 during her time at Evolution from 2014 to 2018.
In all, Boyd submitted at least 42 travel expense reports in her time with EEI totaling $62,116.49
The conspiracy charge provides a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of 250,000. Each charge of theft of government funds provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of lying to a grand jury provides a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of 250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
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