A manager at the Natick Soldier Systems Center and his girlfriend/underling have been indicted on charges they defrauded the government in a scheme to pay her salary and for the hotel rooms she never actually stayed in while allegedly on official business with him, often in Orlando, FL.
In the indictment, unsealed today in US District Court in Boston, Thomas Bouchard of Uxbridge was charged with using his position as chief of the Natick Contracting Division - which oversees hundreds of millions of dollars in procurement contracts for the military - to hire Chantelle Boyd as his assistant despite her lack of experience in the sort of contract negotiations he oversaw.
In fact, despite what it said on the resume that Bouchard allegedly helped write, Boyd was a bartender at the Courtyard Marriott in Frederick, MD, who had become more than just friendly with Bouchard during his stays there while conducting Army business at the nearby Fort Detrick, the indictment alleges.
According to the indictment, Bouchard created an assistant position to help deal with an increasing workload, never advertised it and submitted only Boyd's resume for approval. Her $65,000 salary was funded by another Defense Department division that agreed to pay for it in the hopes it would mean faster turnaround on its contracts.
Boyd was supposed to submit weekly invoices to that division, but in four years as Bouchard's assistant, she submitted only nine. Her e-mail records showed just 23 e-mail messages between her and the division representative she was supposed to be in regular contact with over that period; in fact, that representative did not even think she still worked in her position, understandable, the grand jury charged, since she actually did virtually no work.
On their 31 trips to Orlando:
Boyd and Bouchard visited Disney parks and spent time at the pool and waterslides at the resort hotel - all during business hours.
For four years, the indictment charges, the two would travel, often to Orlando, where his division had an office, and would stay in a single hotel room, but would then submit bills for two rooms.
The indictment charges the two with conspiracy to steal government funds, nine counts of theft of government funds and, in Boyd's case, making false statements to a grand jury.