Investigators: Top LANL scientist made up work trips to pocket the money

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LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (KRQE) – In a city founded on secrets, investigators say one of Los Alamos National Lab’s top scientists has a lot of them.

William Monty Wood, a 25-year employee, has one of the highest levels of security clearance, a “Q  clearance”. According to court documents, he’s trusted enough to work in a “controlled and classified” area that deals with nuclear weapons.

However, investigators say Wood betrayed that trust for years.

Investigators say from 2014-2017, Wood “knowingly made false claims against the government by submitting travel receipts and related documents for reimbursement for business travel expenses that he did not actually incur.”

Even when Wood went on legitimate work trips, investigators say there’s “probable cause to believe on other occasions Wood knowingly inflated his travel expenses to receive more reimbursement than he deserved.”

LANL officials told investigators they caught on when they noticed Wood started turning in fake and clearly altered travel receipts from hotels, rental car companies, and airlines.

For example, investigators say Wood turned in a Southwest Airlines ticket that’s ticket number did not begin in ‘526’. A Southwest representative told investigators all their tickets begin in those numbers.

When investigators asked Wood about three receipts, they say are fake, he submitted after a December 2017 conference in Santa Barbra, California, he asked for a lawyer. No one investigators spoke with reported seeing Wood at that conference.

This week, investigators searched Wood’s Santa Fe home and seized computers, hard drives and memory cards they say could contain even more incriminating evidence.

Wood has not yet been charged with a crime.

KRQE News 13 reached out to LANL to see if Wood is still an employee, we did not hear back.

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