Ex-senior NASA employee from Virginia gets 18 months for pandemic fraud

Virginia News

LAS VEGAS, NV – JANUARY 11: The NASA logo is displayed at the agency’s booth during CES 2018 at the Las Vegas Convention Center on January 11, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. CES, the world’s largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs through January 12 and features about 3,900 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to more than 170,000 attendees. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A former senior NASA employee who cheated the government out of nearly $275,000 in pandemic-related financial assistance has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.

The sentence imposed Thursday on 36-year-old Andrew Tezna of Leesburg, Virginia,  was roughly in line with the 21-month sentence sought by federal prosecutors in Alexandria.

Tezna’s lawyer had sought home detention. Tezna pleaded guilty to fraud after submitting bogus applications under the government’s Paycheck Protection Program.

During the fraud, Tezna was making more than $180,000 annually working in NASA’s financial offices.

He used the money to pay off a swimming pool and a Disney timeshare, among other items. He also paid more than $6,000 for a French bulldog.

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