Air Force scientist accused of extorting defense contractor into hiring his prostitute girlfriend

OASD Audio Visual and Broadcast Engineer Andrea Arredondo sets up studio and preps Assistant Director, Hypersonics, OUSD (R&E) Mike E. White, prior to Defense One Panel on Hypersonics & Space virtual event, September 30, 2020 from the Pentagon. (DoD photo by Marvin Lynchard)

Jeremy P. KelleyJosh Sweigart

Dayton Daily News, Ohio

Jul. 19—Air Force officials investigated a now-deceased Air Force Research Laboratory scientist on suspicion of more than a half-dozen crimes while the man worked at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, according to a search warrant application unsealed last week.

The scientist was accused of pushing a defense contractor with whom his AFRL office did business to hire a prostitute with whom he was having a relationship for a technical job using a faked resume.

Those details come from the search warrant application and an affidavit from an Air Force Office of Special Investigations special agent. Those court documents include statements from the defense contractor, who came forward almost 18 months later after employing the woman for nearly a year.

The affidavit also includes information from audio recordings and computer records the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) obtained from the scientist’s government-issued phone and laptop.

The Dayton Daily News is not naming the scientist because it was not immediately clear if the man was ever criminally charged between the time the probe started in March 2019 and his death in September 2021.

Officials from AFRL, AFOSI and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday about the status of the investigation, or administrative actions taken in light of the allegations.

The affidavit, filed Dec. 11, 2019 in federal district court for southern Ohio, said there was probable cause to believe the man committed violations of seven federal and state statutes — prostitution near military and naval establishments; false, fictitious or fraudulent claims; embezzlement/misuse of government property; false statements; extortion of officers or employees of the United States; ethnic intimidation; and aggravated menacing.

The probe involves a scientist who worked for the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Hypersonics Directorate and a prostitute who was eventually employed by two local defense contractors on the scientist’s urgings, according to the court records.

The scientist highly encouraged the first contractor to hire the woman, saying she “would be a good fit” for an administrative technician job, according to the affidavit. The scientist allegedly spoke favorably of her technical expertise and finished by telling the contractor, “she’s also really hot.”

The contractor quickly grew frustrated with the woman’s performance, as she “did not fully understand how to use basic word processing and document creation software, and struggled to formulate coherent interoffice emails,” the affidavit says.

After the first contractor learned the woman’s credentials were false and confronted the scientist, the AFRL employee admitted his relationship with the woman to the contractor, according to the AFOSI affidavit.

The contractor said his attorney recommended delaying the woman’s termination for liability reasons, according to the affidavit. That document says the scientist told the contractor that if he spoke up, the “old boys club” at AFRL would believe the scientist rather than an immigrant contractor.

When the woman left the first company because of the contractor’s concerns and went to work for a competitor, the contractor’s $250,000 research grant was reduced to $100,000, and the contract was split between the two companies. In a recorded conversation, the AFRL scientist told the woman he would move funds to the new company for her salary, the affidavit says.

It also says the scientist threatened to bring a gun to Wright-Patt Building 5 to “end it all.”

According to AFOSI, the hard drive on the scientist’s government laptop included an Excel document containing extracted text messages from 2015-2018 between him and 27 female escorts in different cities.

“Many of the 27 women listed on the Excel document were foreign nationals from countries considered U.S. National Security concerns,” the affidavit says.

The AFOSI agent said there is evidence that the woman engaged in prostitution near WPAFB with other civilian employees, including a ballistic missile contractor with the National Air and Space Intelligence Center.

Federal law enforcement officials repeatedly asked the court to keep the warrant application and affidavit sealed, saying the matter was a continuing investigation. The last of those requests came in July 2021, two months before the scientist’s death.


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