Metallurgist pleads guilty to falsifying steel strength tests for US submarines

Tuesday, 09 November 2021 22:31:18 (GMT+3)   |   San Diego

The former director of metallurgy at Tacoma, Washington-based foundry Bradken Inc. admitted Monday to faking the results of steel strength tests for material used to make US Navy submarines, according to news reports.

Elaine Marie Thomas pleaded guilty to decades of fraud, per an announcement from the US Department of Justice. Thomas was responsible for running test results measuring the strength and toughness of steel components that were used to construct US Navy submarines.

Bradken reportedly produced steel castings used in submarines for 30 years that failed lab tests and fell below the standards required by the US Navy. Thomas falsified results for more than 240 batches of steel, although the DOJ announcement did not specify which submarines used those batches.

Thomas, who will be sentenced in February 2022, faces up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $1 million. The falsified records were discovered in 2017 by a Bradken lab employee, who found altered test cards and other discrepancies.  

Bradken paid a civil settlement in 2020 of more than $10,000,000 for supplying substandard naval parts, according to the Department of Justice.

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