A State Department employee left over from the Obama Administration was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on charges that she used her position to secure gifts from Chinese spies in an effort to defraud the United States government.
Candace Marie Claiborne, 60, allegedly received thousands of dollars in gifts over five years, in addition to vacations, an apartment, Apple electronics and tuition to a Chinese fashion school, the indictment charged, according to The Daily Caller.
The State Department employee then concealed the gifts and contacts with the Chinese, which violated her security-clearance requirement that she disclose any gifts from foreign nationals.
The arrest looks particularly bad for the Obama Administration, which has been accused of crooked activities since Trump won the presidency. According to various reports, Obama staffers who are still in the White House have been leaking sensitive materials in order to discredit President Trump. Claiborne isn’t known to be part of that effort, but her illegal activities speak to the kind of behavior that was occurring on Obama’s clock.
Claiborne had spent eight years in China. She had also spent time in Iraq, Sudan and several other foreign countries, according to the Washington Post.
According to The Daily Caller, she wrote in a journal that she could “generate 20k in 1 year” through a Chinese agent, according to an affidavit.
The indictment charged that Claiborne knew that the Chinese agents she was involved with were spies, and after she had been caught, told co-conspirators to erase the evidence, which resulted in her also being charged with obstructing justice, according to The Post.
Although the Chinese nationals involved were not named, Claiborne apparently had known one of them since at least 2007 and the other since 2012.
The charges ranged from obstructing justice to making false statements to wire fraud.
She was arrested on March 29. If convicted of the wire fraud charge, Claiborne’s Washington home and her savings account would be subject to forfeiture. Additionally, she could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted of obstructing an official proceeding and making false statements to the FBI.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord said that pursuing those like Claiborne who have endangered national security for personal gain was a “key priority of the National Security Division” of the Justice Department.