Melissa Heyer, a DoD contractor has been sentence to a year and a day in federal prison, along with three years on supervised release. Heyer also has to pay $107,300 in restitution. She was charged with submitting false claims on a federal government contract – also known as lying on her timesheet.

When Timesheet HOurs Don’t Match Up with SCIF Records

On a DoD contract, Heyer’s employer assigned her national security work at the National Security Agency (NSA) in Fort Meade, MD. Her job required a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) clearance, with the need to complete her work inside a sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF). In order to get in the SCIF, Heyer, of course, needed to badge in and badge out. During her time on the contract from January 2017 to March 2019, Heyer lied about her presence at the NSA SCIF at least five times. False claims on a timesheet lead to an employer billing the government for work that wasn’t completed. All totaled, Heyer’s false claims caused the federal government to be billed more than 1,200 hours and pay over $100,000 for work that was not completed.

Timesheets Are a Necessary Drag

Recording your hours in a weekly timesheet is challenging. You have to find the right program code to submit hours, and defense contractors often limit overhead hours. So, your options for how to bill your work can sometimes feel restricting. However, every hour that you enter into your timesheet gets invoiced to the federal government. Submit hours on an unclassified program that includes a Starbucks run for yourself? While you are padding your hours in your timesheet, it is a little more challenging to prove – especially in remote work. However, for the contractors who need to badge in and out of a SCIF and have zero remote work options, suddenly, 1,200 hours that don’t match up against a timesheet begin to add up, catching the client’s eye. It’s not about taking an extended lunch break – this defendant simply wasn’t at work and logged hours like she was.

Time Adds Up

While many are working remotely, it’s still important to make sure that the hours billed to the government – either as a contractor or an employee are accurate. Over time, 10-15 minutes add up into hours. Padding your timesheet on a daily basis may not add up to Heyer’s 1,200 hours in a year, but it can be over a week of unworked time. Fraud in your timesheet results in jail time, fines, and loss of your security clearance.  And for employers, the unproductive employee will catch the client’s eye. If you’re wondering if the clients watch for this type of fraud and abuse, this case is your answer in the affirmative.


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Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.