ST. LOUIS (CN) – A Defense Department civilian employee and an exotic dancer charged more than $56,000 on the employee’s Defense Department credit card, federal prosecutors say. Steven C. Brown, 49, of Godfrey, Ill., and the dancer, Teressa V. Shrum, 33, of Hannibal, Mo., were indicted on 20 felony counts of theft of public money.
Brown and Shrum met in 2004 while she was working as an exotic dancer in a St. Louis-area club, prosecutors say. A relationship developed and Brown helped Shrum with personal expenses, including a car loan, the indictment states.
Brown had worked for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency since 1984, where part of his job involved buying office supplies and computer equipment, and he had use of a government-issued credit card. Prosecutors say Shrum registered a credit card merchant processing company in 2005 and the two used false invoices and Brown’s credit card to bill the government. They kept the transactions below $3,000 so Brown’s supervisor would not have to approve it, and the two made 20 transactions for just over $56,000, the indictment states.
“At this time, when the men and women of the armed forces are putting their lives at risk around the world in defense of this country, it is unconscionable that anyone would steal from the Defense Department,” U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway said in a statement. Brown and Shrum were released on their own recognizance.