A federal grand jury indicted a Department of State employee Tuesday on multiple charges that she conspired to defraud the U.S. government by concealing gifts from and contacts with Chinese spies.
Candace Marie Claiborne was already facing charges that she obstructed justice and made false statements. Tuesday’s indictment also added another false statements count, as well as a forfeiture allegation and a wire fraud charge. (RELATED: Feds Charge State Department Official In Chinese Spy Case)
Clairborne, 60, was required to disclose gifts and contacts from foreign nationals to retain her top secret security clearance – a requisite for her State Department position, according to the indictment. The grand jury charged that keeping her actions secret through lies and deceit to keep her job defrauded the U.S. government.
Chinese spies gave Claiborne thousands of dollars in gifts over five years, in addition to vacations, an apartment, Apple electronics, and tuition to a Chinese fashion school, according to the indictment. She allegedly told co-conspirators to erase evidence after getting caught.
Claiborne knew the Chinese agents were spies, according to the indictment.
The grand jury found Claiborne’s Washington, D.C. home and her savings account are subject to forfeiture, if she’s convicted of wire fraud.
Claiborne started at the State Department in 1999 as an office management specialist, and worked in China from 2000 to 2005 and again from 2009 to 2012.
She wrote in a journal that she could “generate 20k in 1 year” through a Chinese agent, according to an affidavit. She was allegedly wired nearly $2,500 shortly after and was asked to provide the U.S. government’s analyses of its 2011 economic talks with China.
The indictment didn’t name the Chinese nationals. Claiborne had known one of them – a business owner – since at least 2007 and the other since 2012.
“Claiborne used her position and her access to sensitive diplomatic data for personal profit,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord said previously. “Pursuing those who imperil our national security for personal gain will remain a key priority of the National Security Division.”
Claiborne was arrested March 29.
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