A former special agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) pleaded guilty today to stealing fraud proceeds that she had been assigned to recover on behalf of fraud victims, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Special Agent in Charge Michael P. Tompkins of the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
Artemis Papadakis, 57, of Richmond, California, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jill L. Burkhardt of the Southern District of California to an information charging her with theft by a government official. Sentencing has been scheduled for September 11 before U.S. District Judge John A. Houston.According to the plea agreement, Papadakis admitted that she was stationed by the DEA in Nicosia, Cyprus, between 2008 and 2014. While in Cyprus, Papadakis was assigned to help the U.S. Government recover the proceeds of an American fraud scheme that had been frozen in the banking system in northern Cyprus. When Papadakis was transferred from Cyprus to San Francisco in June 2014, the funds had not yet been recovered. Papadakis admitted that she was told not to pursue the matter regarding the funds following her transfer. But when she was in Cyprus in October 2015 on personal business, Papadakis took possession of $310,000 of the funds without notifying anyone at the DEA or in the U.S. Government that she had done so.
According to the plea agreement, Papadakis mailed approximately $230,000 of those funds from Cyprus to her home address in California and later took possession of an additional $20,000 of those funds from a third party when he visited her in the U.S. Papadakis admitted that she hid the $250,000 in her flower pots at her home in California, and did not disclose to anyone at the DEA or in the U.S. Government that she had taken possession of the fraud proceeds. Papadakis further admitted that on or about Feb. 22, 2016, she surrendered the $250,000 to the U.S. government under the false cover story that she had just received it via an unexpected package from Cyprus.
The Justice Department’s OIG investigated the case. Trial Attorneys Jonathan Kravis and Molly Gaston of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section are prosecuting the case.