• Robin Lyons

Altered Test Results


Recent military operations caused me to take notice when I saw information about the true-crime case I’m sharing today. Although I don’t write military thrillers, this crime might be one you’d see in a novel. To quote Mark Twain, “Truth is stranger than fiction.”


When a lab employee at the leading U.S. supplier of high-yield steel used in U.S. naval submarine hulls noticed test results had been altered, a full-on naval investigation began. The company disclosed that their internal investigation found the lab director had falsified strength and durability test results on their steel used on 30 submarines over a 30-year span.


Since the findings, the U.S. Navy has spent over $14 million and invested over 50,000 hours on engineering work to assess the risk to the submarines.


The Department of Justice (DOJ) found no evidence to prove that the manufacturer had knowledge of the false reporting. The company promptly fired the director and accepted a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Government, agreed to pay over $10 million in restitution and implemented extensive remedial protocols.


The former lab director reportedly said she thought the Navy’s requirement to test submarine grade steel at negative 100-degree Fahrenheit was stupid. The DOJ found no evidence of bribery or financial gain.


Rather than go to trial, the 66-year-old former lab director pleaded guilty to defrauding the United States. A federal judge sentenced her to 30 months in prison and pay a $50,000 fine.


A U.S. Attorney associated with the case said,


“For 30+ years [the defendant] betrayed the trust of the United States Navy, knowingly placing its sailors and military operations at risk.”

Was this crime interesting? You can receive true-crime case summaries every Saturday when you join my reader club. Along with the case summaries, I include author updates, member-only giveaways, and personal updates that I don’t share elsewhere. I’m looking forward to seeing you on the inside.


Source: U.S. Department of Justice, NavyTimes

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