Crime - Sacto 911

Vacaville man pleads guilty to defrauding California Air National Guard

A Vacaville man has pleaded guilty in federal court in Sacramento to defrauding the California Air National Guard of nearly $200,000 in a scheme involving leave and false expenses.

Thomas Venable, 46, pleaded guilty Tuesday to theft concerning programs receiving federal funds in connection with his operation of the scheme while he was a major in the California Air National Guard, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.

Court documents indicate that between April 2008 and April 2010, Venable obtained nearly $195,528 from the California Air National Guard in wages, benefits and expense reimbursements to which he was not entitled.

Venable was assigned to a detail with the California Emergency Management Authority, or Cal-EMA, that was available only to California Air National Guard members. At the same time, Venable was frequently deployed for training and duty with the U.S. Air Force, and was employed full time by the University of California-San Francisco Police Department.

While deployed on federal duty or while working for the UCSF Police Department between April 2008 and April 2010, Venable intentionally failed to use required military or other leave and collected double compensation from the federal government and the state of California.

During the same period, he also filed at least 19 false travel and expense reimbursement claims that were unrelated to his California Air National Guard work but that were paid as though they were legitimate, authorities said.

Venable also admitted that, for more than a year, he concealed from his direct supervisors at the California Air National Guard that he had joined the Texas Air National Guard in February 2009, resulting in his discharge from the California Air National Guard and his ineligibility for employment with Cal-EMA.

Venable is to be sentenced Feb. 16 by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy