News

US Embassy Officer Pleads Guilty to Accepting “Gratuities” in Jamaica

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - February 7, 2013

Above: the US Embassy in Kingston

By the Caribbean Journal staff

A law enforcement officer with the US State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service has pleaded guilty to accepting “unlawful gratuities” from a Jamaican entertainer and making false statements while stationed at the US Embassy in Kingston.

The news was announced by US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil MacBride and Gregory Starr, director of the Diplomatic Security Service for the US State Department.

David Rainsberger, who was stationed as an assistant regional security officer for investigations at the US Embassy in Kingston from 2009 to 2011, faces a maximum of two years in prison on the gratuities charge and five years in prison on the false statements charge.

He is slated to be sentenced Apr. 19.

According to court records, Rainsberger befriended what the Department of Justice described as a “well-known Jamaican musician” whose entry to the US had been barred because of allegations of criminal conduct.

Rainsberger’s investigation of the individual resulted in the reinstatement of his visa, which allowed the reggae star to travel to the US to “take advantage of performance and recording opportunities.”

“On account of the assistance Rainsberger provided him with respect to his US visa, the musician purchased for Rainsberger two luxury watches worth approximately $2,500,” the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said in a release. “In addition, Rainsberger received free admission to nightclubs, backstage access to concerts, and a birthday party hosted by the musician.”

At the same time, Rainsberger, who was already married, reportedly became engaged to a Jamaican national and, according to the Justice Department, “intentionally withheld disclosure of the relationship from the U.S. government on Office of Personnel Management Standard Form 86, a national security questionnaire that requires disclosure of close and continuing contact with foreign nationals.”

The government said Rainsberger also “repeatedly accessed, without authority, Department of State visa and passport databases for personal purposes.”

His guilty plea was accepted by US District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee.

Court records did not specifically name the singer.

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