Washington, DC - A former Congressional staffer pleaded guilty Thursday to theft of public funds in connection with his scheme to fraudulently inflate his salary and bonus payments, thereby paying himself more than he was legitimately owed. 

According to court documents, Sterling Carter, 24, of Glenwood, Georgia, was employed as the Director of Operations by a Member of Congress. In that position, Carter was responsible for managing the office’s budget and processing payroll and bonus payments for all employees in the office. Between November 2019 and January 2021, Carter submitted fraudulent paperwork which purported to authorize a higher salary and bonus payments for himself. Carter concealed this theft from the Congressperson and the office’s Chief of Staff by falsely representing, in both communications and a budget spreadsheet, that he was only being paid what he was legitimately owed. In total, Carter received $79,491.67 in unauthorized salary and bonus payments.  

Carter pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to theft of public funds. Carter will be sentenced on July 28 and faces up to 10 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves for the District of Columbia; and Assistant Director in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.

The FBI investigated this matter. Trial Attorneys Nicole Lockhart and Jordan Dickson of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and the Fraud, Public Corruption, and Civil Rights Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia are prosecuting the case.