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Assistant US Attorney pleads guilty to conflict of interest violation

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An Assistant US Attorney pleaded guilty yesterday to illegally steering contracts to her spouse, in violation of the federal criminal conflict of interest statute. 

According to court documents, Kathryn Drey, 55, of Pensacola, Florida, directed contracts from the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida to companies in which her spouse had a financial interest, including while she served as chief of the office’s Civil Division. Drey concealed her spouse’s financial interest in contracts to conduct title searches in litigation defended by the US Attorney’s Office.

“Kathryn Drey committed a federal crime by enriching her family at the expense of her duty to the American people,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The Department of Justice is committed to holding accountable public servants who act with unlawful conflicts of interest, prioritizing financial gain over their ethical duties.”

“The public trusts Department of Justice employees to act with the highest integrity. Instead, Drey acted in her own self-interest to improperly profit from her official position,” said Special Agent in Charge James F. Boyersmith of the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (DOJ-OIG) Miami Field Office. “DOJ-OIG is committed to rooting out this kind of egregious misconduct and bringing perpetrators to justice.”

Drey pleaded guilty to one count of acting with a conflict of interest. She is scheduled to be sentenced on June 28 and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The DOJ-OIG is investigating the case.

Trial Attorneys Lauren Castaldi and Nicholas Cannon of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section are prosecuting the case.

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