Legal Ethics

Double-Dipping Government Lawyer Gets 36 Months of Probation

Two government agencies were pleased with the work that attorney Richard David Wyss did for them.

But because Wyss told both the Utah Department of Public Safety and the federal Transportation Security Administration that he was working exclusively for that government agency, he was sentenced yesterday by a federal judge in Utah to 36 months of probation. The sentenced was imposed under a plea bargain in which Wyss admitted to one count of making false statements concerning his dual employment, according to the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune.

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups also ordered Wyss to pay about $188,000 in restitution, the newspapers report.

Although prosecutors had sought prison time for Wyss, contending that there was no way the attorney could have met his simultaneous full-time obligations to both employers over a five-year period, the judge noted that the attorney had satisfactory to outstanding evaluations from both employers and said he was not at risk to reoffend, the Tribune writes.

The Tribune article says that Wyss was accused of falsifying timesheets, as well as misrepresenting that he worked only part-time for the state agency.

Earlier in his career, Wyss worked for the Utah attorney general’s office for 15 years.

“He has acknowledged his mistake and it has had a devastating effect on his life,” says attorney Rodney Snow, who represents Wyss.

Related coverage: “Ex-TSA Counsel Accused of Hiding Full-Time State Job”

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