This ex-Air Force secretary faked overtime and got $1.4M

A former Joint Base Langley-Eustis civilian employee claimed more than $1.4 million in overtime over a 17-year period.

Michelle M. Holt, 52, of Matthews, was sentenced Wednesday to four years in prison for computer fraud and theft of government property.

Federal prosecutors described it as “an extensive timekeeping fraud that resulted in losses of over $1.4 million…”

Holt was ordered to pay the money back.

According to court documents Holt was a federal employee for the Department of Defense. She was a secretary for U.S. Air Force, Air Combat Command, Communication Support Squadron, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis.

Prosecutors said Holt was a salaried employee on the General Schedule (GS) grade for the federal civilian workforce. As such, she was entitled to overtime pay if authorized by her employer, was also entitled to other forms of holiday and annual leave, and premium pay for any federal holidays worked.

An investigation determined that from December 2001 to July 2018, “Holt falsely claimed over 42,000 hours in unauthorized overtime for hours she did not work, as well as other amounts of unauthorized holiday leave, sick leave and annual leave…”

In recent years, Holt’s overtime pay was more than double that of her regular salary. Holt accomplished the fraud by making manual retroactive adjustments to protected computer time and attendance systems to add overtime, reverse leave taken and reverse holiday leave. In doing so, Holt used another employee’s log-in information without that employee’s knowledge or authorization, prosecutors said.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.