Metallurgist admits falsifying test results for steel used in navy submarines

A former metallurgist at a foundry that supplies steel used to make submarines for the US Navy pleaded guilty on Monday in federal court...


A former metallurgist at a foundry that supplies steel used to make submarines for the US Navy pleaded guilty on Monday in federal court in Tacoma, Wash., To falsifying test results measuring strength and toughness metal – a practice prosecutors said they had pursued for more than three decades.

Former metallurgist Elaine Thomas, 67, of Auburn, Wash., Who pleaded guilty to major fraud, falsified test results for more than 240 steel productions, the Western District’s office said from Washington in a statement. She faces up to 10 years in prison and a $ 1 million fine when sentenced on February 14.

Between 1977 and 2017, Ms. Thomas worked as a metallurgist at a steel foundry in Tacoma, Washington, owned by Atlas Castings & Technology and acquired by Bradken Inc., in 2008, according to the indictment in the case. Ms. Thomas was appointed director of the company’s metallurgy in 2009.

Bradken produces steel enclosures as a subcontractor or supplier for companies that contract with the Navy, according to the indictment. The company is the Navy’s primary supplier of “high-performance cast” steel used for naval submarines, prosecutors said, adding that productions that have been tampered with constitute “a substantial percentage of the castings that have been tampered with. Bradken produced for the Navy “. It was not clear which submarines could have been hit.

Around 1985 and until 2017, Ms. Thomas “knowingly designed and carried out a scheme to defraud the United States Navy and obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretexts and representations”, indicates the indictment.

In an example of a “fraud scheme,” according to the indictment, Ms Thomas would sometimes alter the first digit of the test results to increase the weight by 10 or 20 foot-pounds in tests that determine the toughness of the steel and the “amount of dynamic force” it can withstand.

Ms Thomas’ falsified test results “caused the US Navy to make contract payments that the Navy would not have made had it known the true characteristics of the steel,” according to the indictment.

In a statement filed Monday in federal court by John Carpenter, counsel for Ms Thomas, the former steelworker said she “took shortcuts and made false statements.”

“Ms. Thomas never intended to compromise the integrity of any material and is happy that government testing does not suggest that the structural integrity of a submarine has in fact been compromised. “The statement read.” This offense is unique in that it was not motivated by greed or any desire for personal enrichment. She regrets not following her moral compass – admitting false statements is hardly what she envisioned living out her retirement years.

Bradken’s management only became aware of the falsified test results in May 2017, when a lab employee discovered that the results had been “tampered with and other discrepancies existed in Bradken’s record,” a said the US attorney’s office.

After the discovery of the falsified tests, Ms. Thomas agreed to voluntary interviews with federal agents in which she “made false statements” to cover up that she had submitted hundreds of false results, according to the indictment.

In 2019, Ms Thomas admitted to changing some results, “but said she must have had a good reason to change the results,” the indictment reads.

The company took responsibility for the falsified tests in June 2020 and also paid more than $ 10.8 million in a civil settlement for allegations Bradken made and sold “substandard steel components. to be installed on US Navy submarines, ”according to the US attorney’s office.

“The Navy has taken important steps to ensure the safety of the operations of the affected submarines,” the US prosecutor’s office said in the statement. “These measures will lead to increased costs and maintenance as substandard parts are monitored. “

Bradken and the Navy press service did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday evening.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Metallurgist admits falsifying test results for steel used in navy submarines
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