A Colombian national has pleaded guilty and been deported in connection with theft of a Department of Transportation (DOT) laptop computer, according to the department's Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
Juan Calle was sentenced in United States District Court in Miami FL to time served and three years of supervised release, which was suspended because of his illegal immigration status in the United States. Calle will be deported to Colombia, according to the OIG.
The laptop was stolen from an OIG special agent's vehicle near Miami. Subsequent investigative activity identified an organized effort by a small ring of thieves to steal laptops from vehicles in the same area where the OIG agent's laptop was stolen.
The case is part of an investigation into theft of three computers that contained personal information about commercial driver license (CDL) holders. Two computers were stolen in the Miami area and one in Baltimore MD.
In other news, the former deputy director of the DOT-funded National Crash Analysis Center has received a prison sentence in connection with embezzling federal and George Washington University (GWU) research funds, said the OIG.
Paul G Bedewi, who also was a GWU adjunct professor, was sentenced to serve five months in prison and ordered to pay $80,440 in restitution to GWU. He pleaded guilty to one felony count of theft from programs receiving federal funds. Bedewi was charged with embezzling $78,602 in DOT and GWU research funds between August 2002 and June 2004 through illegal stipends and unallowable purchases. The OIG investigation found that Bedewi caused the analysis center to issue $36,150 in unauthorized and fraudulent graduate assistant stipends to his wife. Bedewi also used a university purchase card to make $42,452 in unauthorized purchases.
Paul Bedewi is the cousin of Nabih Bedewi, a former GWU engineering professor and former director of the center, who was sentenced in June 2005 to more than three years in prison and ordered to pay $872,221 in restitution for embezzling nearly $1 million in DOT and GWU research funds.