Georgia Tech Research Institute scientist sentenced to nearly 6 years for defrauding university, CIA

In this March 11, 2016, file photo, a pedestrian walks through the Georgia Tech campus as the downtown Atlanta skyline looms in the background. (David Goldman, File/AP Photo)

Three former Georgia Tech researchers have been sentenced for their roles in a scheme to defraud the university and the Central Intelligence Agency, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.

James G. Maloney, former chief scientist for the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), and James J. Acree and James D. Fraley III had access to a university credit card that was supposed to be for official business, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.

Instead, they used it to finance about $200,000 in personal expenses from 2007 through 2013.

According to prosecutors, the men purchased items including two four-wheelers, two 52-inch flat-screen televisions, Apple computers, iPads, Kindle e-readers, digital and video cameras, a 3D printer, Bose headphones and sports watches with heart rate monitors.

Acree and Fraley pleaded guilty in 2016 and cooperated with the government. Maloney pleaded guilty in May.

U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan said Maloney “took advantage of his high position at GTRI to line his own pockets at the public’s expense.”

The men, experts in electromagnetic analysis and measurements, worked at GTRI’s Advanced Concepts Laboratory on projects funded by the Department of Defense, intelligence agencies and private industry.

Maloney, 58, of Marietta, Georgia, was sentenced to five years and ten months in prison and ordered to pay $1.9 million in restitution, the DOJ said.

“Maloney’s sentence should send a clear message to anyone seeking to abuse their positions for personal gain, the FBI will find you and hold you accountable,” said Keri Farley, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta.

Acree, 58, of Atlanta, was sentenced to three years of probation with the first year to be served on home confinement and was ordered to pay $604,692 in restitution, Buchanan’s office said. Fraley, 45, of Canton, also received three years of probation with the first eight months on home confinement and was ordered to pay $476,960.