WASHINGTON - A former high-ranking National Aeronautics and Space Administration ("NASA") official, Courtney A. Stadd, 54, of Bethesda, Maryland, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with actions he took that resulted in over $9.5 million of NASA funds being allocated to one of his consulting clients in 2005, U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Taylor and NASA Deputy Inspector General Thomas J. Howard announced today.
The three-count indictment, which was returned earlier today by a federal grand jury sitting in the District of Columbia, charges Stadd with one count of Acts Affecting a Personal Financial Interest, in violation of 18 U.S.C. S 208, and two counts of False Statements, in violation of 18 U.S.C. S 1001(a)(2). If convicted, Stadd faces up to five years of imprisonment on each charge. An arraignment date has not yet been set by the court.
According to the indictment, in the spring and summer of 2005, Stadd, who previously served as NASA Chief of Staff and White House Liaison, exerted his authority as a Special Government Employee in NASA's Office of the Administrator to ensure that $12 million of a $15 million Congressional "earmark" for earth science applications was spent in Mississippi, where his client, Mississippi State University, was located. In doing so, it is alleged that Stadd knowingly and willfully participated as a government officer in recommending and rendering advice on the allocation of NASA funds to Mississippi State University, a matter in which Stadd knew he had a financial interest.
Mississippi State University later received $9,603,428 of the "earmarked" funds from NASA. As part of his scheme, Stadd made false statements to NASA ethics officials concerning his participation in NASA matters involving Mississippi State University.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty. In announcing the indictment, U.S. Attorney Taylor and NASA Deputy Inspector General Howard commended the outstanding investigative work of the agents of the NASA Office of Inspector General. They also acknowledged the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney David S. Johnson, who is prosecuting the case.