NASA facility chief from North Carolina is guilty of receiving illegal gifts

Posted at 10:46 PM, Dec 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-23 08:55:54-05

WALLOPS ISLAND, VA – NOVEMBER 12: A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket is seen as it is rolled from the Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF) to Pad-0A, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on November 12, 2018 in Virginia. Northrop Grumman’s 10th contracted cargo resupply mission for NASA to the International Space Station will deliver about 7,500 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. Launch is scheduled for Nov. 15 at 4:49 a.m. EST. (Photo by Joel Kowsky /NASA via Getty Images)

NORFOLK, Va. – A North Carolina man from Snow Hill, Maryland pleaded guilty to receiving gratuities in exchange for official acts performed in his capacity as a government official, and to stealing funds from a government contract.

According to court documents, Steven Eric Kremer, 53, was the Chief of the Range and Mission Management Office at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Wallops Flight Facility (WFF). Kremer was responsible for administering the Range Operations Contract (ROC) – a multi-year government contract intended to provide services at test facilities and launch control centers.

Kremer was provided the free use of a vacation home for a one-week period located on the Eastern Shore of Virginia during each of the summers between 2008 and 2015. The home was owned by an employee of a ROC subcontractor. Kremer facilitated the selection of the subcontractor’s firm to supply interior design services and office furniture for WFF in exchange for time in the vacation home.

ROC funds were used by Kremer to purchase gift cards for his personal use, and to obtain a piece of personalized art.

Kremer faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison when sentenced on March 27, 2019 due to his guilty plea of gratuities by a public official and theft of government funds.

Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Paul K. Martin, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Inspector General, and Martin Culbreth, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge Henry Coke Morgan, Jr. accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorneys V. Kathleen Dougherty and Stephen W. Haynie are prosecuting the case.

Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:18-cr-163.