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National Guard Major and Real Estate Broker Sentenced To One Year In Prison By Federal Judge

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VING Maj. Sherrymae Barnes Morales

CHRISTIANSTED – A 54-year-old St. Croix real estate broker was given one year and one day in prison by a federal judge for submitting duplicate time sheets in her job at the Virgin Islands National Guard, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Sherrymae Barnes Morales was also sentenced to three years of supervised release by U.S. District Court Judge Curtis Gomez on November 12, 2015, U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe said.

Morales will also serve 200 hours of community service, repay $45,426 in restitution to the Virgin Islands National Guard, and pay a special assessment of $2,100, Judge Gomez ordered.

On July 1, 2015, after a three-day trial in U.S. District Court in Estate Golden Rock, the jury found Barnes Morales guilty of 21 counts of wire fraud. According to evidence presented at trial, from 2010 until 2011, Morales was employed as a full-time employee with the Virgin Islands National Guard (VING) on St. Croix.

At the same time she was employed as a full-time VING employee, Barnes Morales also held a full-time contract position with the Military Personnel Services Corporation (MPSC), which provides employee support services to members of the VING. Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that Barnes Morales submitted time sheets to both the MPSC and VING for the same 40-hour work weeks over 14 months.

Barnes Morales was also the broker-owner of Mahogany Real Estate in St. Croix based in Estate La Grande Princess at the time that she was full-time with the VING. She is the sister of current VITEMA Director Mona Barnes and former DPNR Commissioner Alicia Barnes.

The case was investigated by the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command-Major Procurement Fraud Unit, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and the Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Everard Potter.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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