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Ex-U.S. Official Faces Felony Charge in Case Tied to Gallup

Jan. 2 (Bloomberg) -- A former official of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, named in a false claims lawsuit against the Gallup Organization, was charged with improperly using his contract oversight job for personal gain.

Timothy Cannon, former director of FEMA’s Human Capital Division, was charged with one count of felony conflict of interest, according to a criminal information filed today in federal court in Washington.

Cannon is also a defendant in a civil whistle-blower lawsuit brought by a former Gallup employee that the U.S. government joined last year. In that case, Gallup is accused of overbilling the U.S. on polling for federal agencies and promising a job to Cannon, who oversaw one of its contracts, according to the complaint.

Gallup inflated the number of hours required to complete contracts with the State Department, the U.S. Mint and other agencies, causing more than $10 million in overpayments, according to the lawsuit. Gallup offered employment to Cannon while at the same time seeking additional funding from FEMA, according to the Justice Department.

Closely held Gallup, which is based in Washington, provides opinion polling and consulting services. It received more than $300 million in annual revenue in 2008, according to the complaint in the false claims case.

Cannon’s lawyer, David Schertler, declined to comment on the charge. William Miller, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen, also declined to comment.

The criminal case is U.S. v. Cannon, 13-cr-00001, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington). The civil case is U.S. ex rel. Lindley v. The Gallup Organization, 09-cv-01985, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Schoenberg in Washington at tschoenberg@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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