Coast Guard contract officer sentenced in $150K fraud case

Friday - 6/22/2012, 10:05am EDT

A Coast Guard officer was sentenced to 21 months in prison this week and ordered to pay more than $98,000 in restitution after she pleaded guilty to recommending five procurement requests for ship repairs to a company owned by a family member.

Lt. Danielle Daniese Ferreira, 36, of Alexandria, Va., was sentenced June 19 to 21 months in prison for wire fraud. She received an additional three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $98,658.50 in restitution to the U.S. Treasury. U.S. District Senior Judge Robert G. Doumar sentenced Ferreira, who pleaded guilty to the charges on Dec. 5, 2011.

According to court documents, Ferreira served as a Type Desk Manager in Norfolk, Va. Part of her job was to recommend contractors to conduct repairs and perform maintenance on Coast Guard cutters stationed along the Atlantic Seaboard and the Gulf Coast. She was also in charge of overseeing the completion of those repairs.

In 2009, she recommended Strategy One, LLC for five procurement requests for ship repairs. The small company, which was owned by Ferreira's cousin, Tracia Christian-Young, had no previous expertise in this type of work.

To help Christian-Young obtain workers to fulfill the contracts, Ferreira enlisted the help of Wallace Haggins, a Coast Guard recruiter on active duty. Ferreira also obtained the help of former Coast Guard members to complete the repairs.

When the work was finished, the U.S. Treasury paid Strategy One, and Christian-Young and Haggins then deposited approximately $83,000 into two business accounts, one for Black Kai Boxing Academy and the other for TEDD Electric.

Ferreira's spouse, Henry Ferreira, was released in July 2009 from active duty with the Coast Guard. He opened the TEDD Electric bank account on Aug. 4, 2009. Blackkai Boxing Academy applied for a business license with the Virginia State Corporation in April 2005, listing Danielle Ferreira as the registered agent and her husband as a silent partner. That company's business account was opened in April 8, 2005, with Danielle Ferreira as the sole person with signature authority.

In addition to the money obtained from the five repair contracts, Danielle Ferreira charged $15,000 to another Coast Guard contractor's final payment, telling the contractor the money was needed to pay a subcontractor on another of her contracts. She asked the contractor to make the check payable to TEDD Electric.

According to court documents, Danielle Ferreira and her co-defendants accumulated approximately $150,000 by fraudulent means in under six months. The Coast Guard begin investigating the case in November 2009.

Special Agents of the Department of Homeland Security, the Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Office of the Inspector General conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen W. Haynie was the prosecutor for the U.S. government.