The interior designer who decorated Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Washington headquarters has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government.
In a one-count felony charge filed Sept. 1 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Justice Department alleged that Darlene Mathis-Gardner provided false information and documents to General Services Administration officials in order to win a $1.3 million contract for interior design at ICE’s new headquarters on 12th Street SW.
According to court papers, Mathis-Gardner and her co-conspirators passed off independent contractors as the company's employees, submitted false information about their background and qualifications, and created fictitious documentation of the company's past performance in order to convince government officials that they were qualified to perform the work.
The charge carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for individuals. Mathis-Gardner’s punishment has yet to be determined by the court.
The case is the first to arise from an ongoing investigation into procurement fraud occurring against ICE conducted by the Antitrust Division's National Criminal Enforcement Section, the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility and the GSA Office of Inspector General.
Mathis-Gardner was represented by Amy Jackson, a partner at Trout Cacheris. The Justice Department was represented by trial attorneys Mary Strimel and John Terzaken.
Jackson could not be reach immediately for comment.