Former space station executive accused of billing NASA for sexual escapades

Charles Resnick worked for nonprofit managing ISS laboratory research

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist
NASA via Getty Images

The International Space Station (ISS) is seen from NASA space shuttle Endeavour on May 29, 2011.

A former consultant for the Florida-based nonprofit that manages the International Space Station laboratory was indicted last week and accused of defrauding a U.S. government agency to pay for his international sexual escapades.

Charles Resnick, of Tampa, was formerly the director of economic valuation and later the chief economist for CASIS, which stands for the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space. In January, CASIS was rebranded and began doing business as the ISS U.S. National Lab in an effort to streamline messaging and raise awareness about the laboratory on the space station, according to a spokesperson.

The 501(c)(3) nonprofit receives $15 million from NASA annually as the sole manager of the station’s U.S. National Laboratory, per a 2011 agreement with the space agency.

Resnick was indicted by a grand jury last week in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Tampa on six counts of wire fraud.

In his roles with the nonprofit, Resnick frequently traveled and was required to file trip expenses for reimbursement. According to the charges, however, Resnick filed expense reports from 2011 to 2015 that included some unnecessary purchases for escort services in the U.K. and in the U.S.

"Expenses incurred for escorts, prostitutes and commercial sexual activities were not part of the ordinary, necessary and reasonable travel expenses or related expenses for which employees could be reimbursed," according to the indictment.

Federal attorneys allege that, in some cases, Resnick conducted trips for the purpose, "in whole or in part, of meeting with escorts and prostitutes."

Resnick falsified expense reimbursement reports to CASIS that were drawn from NASA funding, according to the indictment.

CASIS President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Vockley said in a statement the nonprofit is aware of the recent charges against the former employee.

"In 2015, CASIS immediately cut ties with Mr. Resnick upon discovering his actions, which were in clear violation of company policies and procedures," Vockley said. "We immediately launched a full investigation into Mr. Resnick's travel and accounting practices resulting in referral to the NASA (Office of Inspector General). CASIS has fully cooperated with the OIG's investigation and will continue to do so."

The former executive is also accused of understating his total income from his 2010-2013 taxes by more almost $400,000 combined.

Resnick was arrested Friday and later released.

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