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Former NASA climate scientist pleads guilty to contract fraud
December 3, 2009
[efoods]A former top climate scientist who had become of one the scientific world’s most cited authorities on the human effect on Earth’s atmosphere was sentenced to probation Tuesday after pleading guilty to steering lucrative no-bid contracts to his wife’s company.
In addition to a year’s probation, former NASA manager Mark Schoeberl, 60, of Silver Spring, was also fined $10,000 and ordered to put in 50 hours of community service. He admitted in the late summer that he had hid some $50,000 in NASA contracts for a company called Animated Earth, which was run by Schoeberl’s wife, Barbara. Prosecutors alleged that Schoeberl tried to help his wife’s firm for years. When his colleagues balked at giving no-bid contracts to his wife’s firm, Schoeberl pressured them to steer money to his wife through indirect means.
Schoeberl was the chief scientist of the Goddard Space Flight Center’s Earth Sciences Division and the head of the Aura Project, a NASA mission to study the Earth’s ozone layer, air quality and climate. He has written extensively about the depletion of the ozone level, and the influence of humans on global climate change.
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