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California in Brief | SACRAMENTO

Worker pleads guilty to fraud

December 01, 2007|From the Associated Press

A federal worker who convinced employees nationwide to donate nearly 1,000 hours of their own paid leave so he could take time off for fictitious cancer treatments pleaded guilty Friday to vacation fraud.

Robert Joseph Thom, 45, of Oceanside pleaded guilty to 10 counts of wire fraud in U.S. District Court, prosecutors said. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

Thom was an information technology specialist with the U.S. Geological Survey when he signed up nearly a year ago for a national donor list.

He falsely claimed that he had undergone "multiple urgent surgeries for the removal of malignant tumors," and forged letters from a local doctor to back up his claims, according to court records. In all he collected roughly $40,000 worth of leave time.

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