Ex-Texas ICE official pleads guilty to embezzling

AP News
Posted: Oct 13, 2011 6:19 PM
Ex-Texas ICE official pleads guilty to embezzling

A former intelligence analyst for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement pleaded guilty Thursday to embezzling federal funds by presenting bogus travel reports and using his diplomatic passport for personal trips.

Ahmed Adil Abdallat agreed to the plea in exchange for prosecutors dismissing six of the eight charges of misusing his diplomatic passport he faced.

Abdallat had received $116,392.34 as reimbursement for 13 trips to the Washington, D.C., area made between February 2009 and September 2010. He got part of that money by presenting fraudulent receipts for lodging, parking and car rental.

The investigation showed there were no charges to his government issued credit card for lodging and other expenses Abdallat reported, prosecutor Gregg McDonald told Magistrate Judge Richard Mesa during the plea hearing.

Part of the plea bargain states that Abdallat will reimburse the embezzled money. An exact amount has yet to be calculated, but Abdallat agreed it is between $70,000 and $120,000. The amount of restitution he will make will be determined at sentencing, which Mesa would take place within the next few weeks.

McDonald also told the court that about $58,000 from the embezzled money was sent back to "other (Department of Homeland Security) employees and other persons in the chain of command."

During Abdallat's first plea hearing in March, FBI special agent Shannon Enochs said Abdallat would send checks and wire money to his long time boss, James Woosley. He would go as far as to pay his boss' utility and mortgage bills and traveled to Washington to leave cash in Woosley's drawers, Enochs said.

Woosley was deputy director of intelligence for ICE and the person in charge of approving Abdallat's expenses. He was placed on administrative leave following Abdallat's Feb. 24 arrest in his El Paso home. A telephone number for an address listing for Woosley was unlisted Thursday.

Aside from the travel report fraud, Abdallat pleaded guilty to making two personal trips to Amman, Jordan, last November and December using the diplomatic passport he was issued to perform various temporary duties at the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia and several other foreign countries. Abdallat is a naturalized U.S. citizen and a native of Jordan.

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Investigators also have said Abdallat was the subject of a larger money laundering investigation after the FBI said he made three wire transfers worth a combined $570,000 to Jordan during a six-month period. Authorities also linked Abdallat to an additional $1.2 million in Jordanian bank accounts. Daryl Fields, spokesman for the attorney general's office in the West District of Texas, declined to comment any further on that case.

Abdallat faces up to 10 years in a federal prison and up to $250,000 in fines per count. He remains in federal custody pending his sentencing.