A former metallurgist at a Washington state foundry that produced used steel in The US Navy submarines admitted they took “shortcuts” and manipulated the results of prove of strength and toughness on the metal for over three decades.
Elaine Marie Thomas, 67, pleaded guilty to fraud in a Tacoma courthouse on Monday. Tommaso was the director of metallurgy in a foundry in the city which supplied steel castings used by Navy Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding contractors to produce submarine hulls.
According to the Department of Justice, i test they had to prove that steel would hold up in a collision or during certain “War scenarios”. While it wasn’t there information on if any submarine hulls had failed, authorities said the Navy incurred additional costs as well maintenance- expenses related to ensure the ships were seaworthy.
although the government did not disclose which subs were affected, the contractors have jointly built Virginia class submarines for about two decades. In a statement to the court, Thomas’s attorney noted that the “Governments test they do not suggest that structural integrity of any submarine it was in fact compromise.”
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In her plea agreement, Thomas told the court that he forged test results for at least 240 steel productions between 1985 and 2017 – approx half the steel that the foundry supplied to the Navy. His lawyer said Thomas “took shortcuts “, but “Never intended to compromise integrity of whatever material. “
In 2017, a metallurgist who was trained to replace Thomas noticed the suspect test results and alerted the foundry parent company, Bradken Inc. The Kansas City-based firm fired her and disclosed the falsified data to the Navy, but suggested the discrepancies were not the result of fraud. Prosecutors said this affected the Navy’s efforts to investigate the scope of the problem and address the potential risks for personnel.
The Justice Department said when investigators confronted Thomas with the fraudulent results, admitted that “it seems bad” and revealed that he had given enough votes in some test because he thought the test of the Marina temperature requirements they were “stupid.”
Thomas, who faces up at 10 years in prison and a $ 1 million fine when convicted in February, apparently it wasn’t “Motivated by greed nor by any desire for personal enrichment “ her attorney said, adding that her “I regret not being able to follow his moral compass “.
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