A U.S. Office of Personnel Management employee from D.C. pleaded guilty Friday to a conflict of interest violation that netted her and her husband over $10 million from the federal agency.
Between Aug. 17, 2011 and March 23, 2023, Sheron Spann, 54, steered OPM contracts for case management software regarding background checks into federal employees and contractors to companies controlled by her husband, Thomas Spann III.
Mr. Spann III was established as the vice president of Enlightened Inc. in 2005 — but his name stopped being put on documents filed by the company in Maryland and D.C. after Spann took a job with OPM in 2007.
On Sept. 23, 2011, Enlightened Inc. was granted a blank purchase agreement for the case management software, with Spann acting as the point of contact between OPM and the company.
This first, five-year deal had a budget ceiling of $4.5 million, but under Spann’s oversight, that ceiling eventually ballooned to over $25 million, according to court documents.
A three-month bridge contract was then awarded to Enlightened Inc. in April 2017 for another $1.5 million without any competition.
The body of work established during this timeframe, under Spann’s aegis, gave Enlightened Inc. for future contracts, including a two-year deal signed in late September 2017 that would ultimately be worth $7.35 million.
At the same time, Spann was personally profiting thanks to a connection with Tier 1 LLC, which was itself used as a contractor by Enlightened Inc. In filings to the Office of Government Ethics, Spann identified herself as the vice president of Tier 1 LLC.
Mr. Spann III also had a self-employment license via Tier 1 LLC, working for Enlightened from 2005 until at least 2013 as a 1099 contractor. From March 2012 to April 2017, Enlightened paid Tier 1 LLC almost $736,000.
Part of those funds benefitted the Spanns, including payments to an American Express account as well as vehicle payments, according to court documents.
Mr. Spann III had a second company, LogApps, subcontracted to a company called 8-Koi. In her capacity at OPM, Spann awarded a contract worth $495,670 to 8-Koi, the proposal for which was written by her husband. This contract was active as of March 23, 2023.
Spann faces up to five years in prison and will be sentenced on Sept. 21, 2023.
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