Elaine Thomas, 67, A former metallurgist who falsified results of strength tests for steel used in US Navy submarine hulls, is now sentenced to 2 ½ years of prison. She had continued to give such false results for more than three decades now.
Thomas is accused of jeopardizing sailors’ life, and the case is said to be ‘the longest-running military procurement fraud scene in history’.
Federal prosecutors and Judge Benjamin Settle are afraid that they still aren’t aware of the ramifications of her treacherous actions.
US attorney, Seth Wilkinson, states that Thomas has taken unfathomable risks with other people’s lives. He had asked for a nearly six-year prison term and a $50,000 fine.
Thomas embarrassedly accepted her actions as a “continuous lapse in moral judgment.”
John R. Carpenter, Thomas’ lawyer, stated in her defence that she was a victim of constant pressure in a male-dominated work environment where sexism was every day. Her immoral decisions were a consequence to meet performance goals.
US navy had to urgently ensure the safety of the submarines due to her falsified steel results. It was an endeavour of $14 million and 50,000 hours. However, no sailor was harmed by her actions. After observing some 17000 notecards, investigators concluded that Thomas had falsified about 240 tests in 32 years.
For the Washington State University graduate, the first woman to earn a degree in metallurgy, it was a fall from grace. Thomas was pleaded guilty in November to defrauding the United States.
The federal probation office recommended a two-year prison term. But, according to Judge Settle, it wasn’t a crime of greed but rather of pride and ego. Whatever it was, she knew better.