Federal prosecutors in Maryland have charged a former government lawyer with criminal conflict of interest and another crime for not disclosing he had an outside law practice and representing a company seeking a government contract.
Jeffrey Ross Williams, a Potomac resident, faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine if convicted on both counts, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Williams touted his “high-visibility federal government experience” and “insiders’ knowledge…of Executive Branch decision making,” on his law firm’s website while working for the government, according to information filed by prosecutors in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.
Williams was admitted to the District of Columbia Bar in 1988 and was in-house counsel for the Consumer Products Safety Commission between September 2005 and March 2008. He founded The Williams Law Group PLLC in Washington in 2003.
Executive-branch officials must report any outside positions and sources of income. Williams did not report income from his firm on the financial disclosure reports he filed for 2005 and 2006, according to prosecutors.
“The fact that Williams maintained a law practice outside of the CPSC was important to ethics officials, because the practice involved federal government agencies and was therefore prohibited by law, among other reasons,” prosecutors wrote in court papers filed Monday.
A message left at Williams’ office on Tuesday was not returned.
In his private practice, Williams represented a foreign company, V Ltd., seeking to supply the U.S. Army with batteries for armored personnel carriers during summer 2006, according to prosecutors. Williams and company officials met with Army procurement officers, and Williams received a monthly retainer of $8,000 from the company for his work, according to prosecutors.
“Williams’ official position with CPSC did not provide for the payment of such compensation,” prosecutors wrote in court filings.
Williams served as assistant general counsel for enforcement and information and assistant general counsel for regulatory affairs with the consumer commission. In addition to the conflict of interest count, he is charged with making a false statement to a federal agency.