Florence, South Carolina — Acting United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina M. Rhett DeHart announced today that Emmanuel Papas, 52, of Myrtle Beach, a former lead transportation security officer with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), has been sentenced to more than one year in federal prison after pleading guilty to stealing from the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers Compensation Program.
“Federal employees should always respect the trust given to them, be it as a current or former employee,” said Acting United States Attorney DeHart. “Betraying that trust and stealing from the federal government never pays.”
Evidence presented in court established that Papas was injured on the job in 2004, when he served with the TSA at the Newark International Liberty Airport. Due to these injuries, Papas began receiving federal worker’s compensation benefits.
A subsequent federal investigation by TSA agents revealed that Papas was improperly receiving benefits because he was actively working at granite shops in the Myrtle Beach area from March 2009 through February 2020. Surveillance showed Papas working, interviews with various granite business employees confirmed that he worked at three Myrtle Beach-area retail granite shops, and deposits into Papas’s bank account showed income from Myrtle Beach-area granite businesses. The investigation also revealed that Papas disguised his income by having his earnings either paid in cash or with checks made payable in his family members’ names. Papas, who ultimately confessed, also completed at least eight federal forms attesting that he had no outside income and was, thus, eligible to continue to receive his benefits. The total loss to the federal government was just under $150,000.
United States District Judge Sherri A. Lydon sentenced Papas to one year and one day of imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system. Additionally, Papas was ordered to pay restitution of $148,982.42.
The matter was investigated by TSA-Investigations, Atlanta Field Office, with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Labor.
Assistant United States Attorney Derek A. Shoemake prosecuted the case.