A State Department security officer in the United States has pleaded guilty to accepting two luxury watches in exchange for helping a Jamaican musician gain a visa to enter the US.
A media release issued on Wednesday by the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said 32-year-old David J. Rainsberger pleaded guilty on Wednesday in federal court in Alexandria to receiving unlawful gratuities while stationed at the US Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica, and making false statements to the United States government on a national security questionnaire required to maintain his security clearance.
Rainsberger faces a maximum penalty of two years in prison on the gratuities charge and five years in prison on the false statements charge when he will be sentenced on April 19.
According to court records, Rainsberger served as an assistant regional security officer for investigations at the US Embassy in Kingston from 2009 to 2011.
The media release said that while stationed in Kingston, Rainsberger befriended the well-known Jamaican musician whose entry to the US had been barred because of allegations of criminal conduct.
"Rainsberger's investigation of this individual resulted in the reinstatement of his visa, which allowed the individual 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 US$2,500," the attorney's office said.
The release added that "in addition, Rainsberger received free admission to nightclubs, backstage access to concerts, and a birthday party hosted by the musician."
The attorney's office said Rainsberger, who was already married, became engaged to a Jamaican national and intentionally withheld disclosure of the relationship from the US government on Office of Personnel Management Standard Form 86, a national security questionnaire that requires disclosure of close and continuing contact with foreign nationals.
"Rainsberger also repeatedly accessed, without authority, Department of State visa and passport databases for personal purposes," the attorney's office said.