TSA Worker Charged With Stealing Laptop Computers At Newark Airport

TSA Worker Charged With Stealing Laptop Computers At <?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = ST1 />NewarkAirport

By Jim Douglas

August 24, 2010 – A New Jersey woman surrendered on Monday to face charges that she stole laptops from a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) lost and found facility and made false statements to effectuate her thefts, United States Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.<?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = O />

Jennifer Steplight, 40, is charged by Complaint with one count of embezzlement by a government employee and one count of false statements. Steplight appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Patty Shwartz in Newark federal court for an initial appearance.
According to the criminal Complaint filed in this case, Steplight was employed by TSA as a Master Transportation Security Officer-Coordination Center Officer and was responsible for maintaining records for the TSA lost and found facility that services NewarkLibertyInternationalAirport.

From December 2009 through January 2010, Steplight stole four laptop computers from the lost and found facility and entered false information into TSA claim forms and inventory records to conceal her thefts. If convicted, Steplight faces a maximum potential penalty of one year in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000 on the embezzlement charge, and a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 on the false statement charge.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Michael B. Ward in Newark, with conducting the investigation. He also thanked the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General and the Transportation and Security Administration for their work in the case.

The government is represented by Assistant United States Attorney Lee M. Cortes Jr. of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit in Newark. The charges and allegations contained in the Complaint are merely accusations and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created as part of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush on November 19, 2001. The TSA was originally organized in the U.S. Department of Transportation but was moved to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on November 25, 2002. The agency is responsible for security in all modes of transportation.

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