A former U.S. State Department employee accused of hiding extensive contacts with China has pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.
Candace Marie Claiborne entered the plea in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Assistant Attorney General John Demers said the 63-year-old Washington resident “traded her integrity and non-public information of the United States government in exchange for cash and other gifts from foreign agents she knew worked for the Chinese intelligence service.”
Claiborne began working for the State Department in 1999, and spent time working in Beijing and Shanghai. She had a top secret security clearance and was required to report foreign contacts.
Prosecutors said Chinese intelligence agents showered her with thousands of dollars in gifts for more than five years in exchange for “copies of internal documents from the State Department on topics ranging from U.S. economic strategies to visits by dignitaries between the two countries.”
Claiborne is scheduled to be sentenced on July 9, 2019. She faces up to five years in prison.