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Consultant for International Space Station lab paid for prostitutes with NASA funds, prosecutors say


Exterior view of NASA's Launch Control Center at Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral in Florida. (Getty Images)

A former consultant and chief economist who worked for a nonprofit that manages the U.S. lab at the International Space Station was using taxpayer money to have sex with prostitutes around the world, federal prosecutors said in an indictment filed in Florida last week.

Charles Resnick, who worked for the NASA-funded Center for Advancement for Science in Space, was indicted April 11 on wire fraud charges and is scheduled to be arraigned next Wednesday in federal court in Tampa.

The 10-count indictment accuses Resnick of arranging to meet escorts and prostitutes in cities like London and New York and forging receipts to conceal those meetings. He would then file fraudulent reimbursement requests, which were then paid for with taxpayer money from NASA, according to the indictment.

Authorities said the scheme took place from as early as 2011 to at least 2015.

“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,” the indictment states.

Resnick, who was released on bond, is also accused of filing fraudulent tax returns several years in a row, underestimating his total income by as much as $209,000 in a single year. He would overstate his expense deductions for work-related travel, meals and entertainment and underestimate his reimbursements, the indictment alleges.

Resnick was first hired in 2011 to serve as the agency’s director of economic valuation. He was later promoted to chief economist.

The economist previously worked as undersecretary in the George W. Bush administration, where he led negotiations on tariffs and trade, including the North America Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, according to a 2011 news release by the International Space Station’s U.S. lab.

The nonprofit’s CEO told Florida news outlets that the organization cut ties with Resnick in 2015 and has fully cooperated with the investigation.