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Wallops Flight Facility chief took ‘illegal gratuities’

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Part of an email from Kremer to an employee of a firm supplying services to Wallops Flight Facility.

A NASA official at Wallops Flight Facility is facing prison time after accepting vacations on the Eastern Shore for official acts and stealing funds from a government contract. 

Steven Eric Kremer, 53, of Snow Hill pleaded guilty on Tuesday to receipt of gratuities by a public official and theft of government funds, the Department of Justice announced in a news release.

As chief of range and mission management office at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Kremer oversaw administration of the range operations contract – a multi-year contract intended to provide services at test facilities and launch control centers. The contract is valued at about $191 million and is made up entirely of federal funds, according to a court document.

Between 2008 and 2015, Kremer took one-week summer vacations at an Eastern Shore home owned by an employee of a subcontractor for the range operations contract. In return, Kremer facilitated the selection of the subcontractor’s firm to provide interior design services and office furniture for Wallops Flight Facility.

Kremer also used range of operations contract funds to buy gift cards for himself and obtain a piece of personalized art.

Kremer faces up to 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced on March 27. Actual sentences for federal crimes are usually less than the maximum penalties, the Department of Justice said.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Paul K. Martin, NASA inspector general, and Martin Culbreth, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement of Kremer’s guilty plea.

Senior U.S. District Judge Henry Coke Morgan Jr. accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorneys V. Kathleen Dougherty and Stephen W. Haynie are prosecuting the case.

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