Former chief scientist at Georgia Tech Research Institute pleads guilty to defrauding university, CIA

The former chief scientist at the Georgia Tech Research Institute pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud Georgia Tech and the CIA from 2007 until 2013.

The former chief scientist at the Georgia Tech Research Institute has pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud Georgia Tech and the Central Intelligence Agency, the federal government revealed.

James G. Maloney, 57, pleaded guilty to the charges on Friday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Georgia. In 2016, Maloney’s co-conspirators James J. Acree and James D. Fraley, III pleaded guilty to the same charges, FOX 5 Atlanta reported.

“These defendants violated the trust placed in them by Georgia Tech and the CIA in allowing their judgment to be clouded by greed,” U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan said in a press release, noting the plea follows a seven-year legal battle. 

He added: “The seven-year delay in resolving Maloney’s case resulted from Maloney’s ploy to evade criminal liability by threatening to reveal classified information during the course of his trial in a failed attempt to force the government to dismiss the case. But as Maloney discovered, the government will not be bullied or threatened by a criminal defendant.”


The three men were charged in connection with a scheme to defraud Georgia Tech and the CIA from early 2007 through late 2013, according to Buchanan. They were experts in electromagnetic analysis and measurements and were assigned to GTRI’s Advanced Concepts Laboratory. 

During this time, they worked on projects funded by the Department of Defense, various intelligence agencies and the private sector, Buchanan said.

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FOX 5 reported the fraudulent activities included misusing a Georgia Tech credit card known as a “PCard.” Fraley had access to the card and was only supposed to use it for official business expenses and the three men falsely represented personal purchases as business expenses. They charged about $200,000 on Fraley’s card for personal expenses, including two four-wheelers and a trailer, two Sony 52-inch flat-screen televisions, Apple computers, iPads, a 3D printer, sports watches with heart-rate monitors and an uninterruptible power supply for a tennis ball machine.


Some of the PCard charges were maintenance expenses for rental properties owned by Maloney and Fraley. Buchanan said were charged to a classified CIA-funded GTRI contract.

The men also engaged in outside consulting activity that violated Georgia Tech’s conflict-of-interest policy.

Maloney and Fraley worked as consultants for Spectra Research, Inc., a defense contractor based in Dayton, Ohio. They ordered Georgia Tech employees to help them complete outside consulting work and directed the employees to bill time for Spectra work to a classified CIA contract. The contract was unrelated to Spectra, Buchanan said.

Georgia Tech learned of the charges to Fraley’s PCard violations during a routine audit in 2013.

The school then scheduled a meeting with him. 

Maloney attempted to orchestrate a cover-up by suggesting they try to match their stories. But Fraley was concerned Maloney would pin the blame on him, so he recorded the cover-up meeting and provided the recordings to the FBI.

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All three men are awaiting their sentencing.

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