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Ex-Sandia Labs worker admits role in fraud case

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A former employee of Sandia National Laboratories charged in November with wire fraud and federal money laundering pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Carla Sena, 55, of Santa Rosa, obtained around $2.3 million in federal funds while working as a procurement officer for the labs by creating a moving company and awarding it a multimillion-dollar contract, receiving the funds between May 2011 and April 2016.

Sena used the names and information of family members and acquaintances in creating the company, New Mexico Express Movers LLC, to hide her involvement, according to her indictment.

She also admitted to using “her position of trust” to ensure the company submitted the lowest bid, thereby winning the contract.

She also admitted transferring hundreds of thousands of those dollars to legitimate businesses owned by her father. She did not disclose her involvement with New Mexico Express Movers on conflict of interest forms filled out as part of her employment.

Sena pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.

A Sandia spokeswoman said in November that Sena retired from the labs in 2017 and the issue was “discovered internally.”

Sena worked at the labs as a procurement officer from 2006 to 2017.

She has not been sentenced.