The estranged wife of female astronaut Anne McClain has been charged with lying to federal authorities about her spouse improperly accessing her bank account. The accusation was reported as NASA’s first-ever space crime allegation.
Summer Worden has been charged with making false statements to NASA’s Office of the Inspector General and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), according to a statement by U.S. Attorney Ryan Patrick.
In 2019, Worden accused her estranged wife astronaut Anne McClain of improperly accessing her bank account while on a six-month mission aboard the International International Space Station (ISS) — a mission that was preparing her to take part in NASA’s first all-female spacewalk.
McClain denied any wrongdoing. “She strenuously denies that she did anything improper,” said the astronaut’s attorney, Rusty Hardin.
In late February, a federal jury in Houston returned a two-count indictment against Worden — which was released on Monday.
According to the indictment, Worden had filed a complaint with the FTC, claiming that her spouse had improperly accessed her bank account.
Worden also claimed that she had opened a new account in September 2018, and reset her login credentials to prevent McClain from accessing her accounts. The indictment, however, alleges that she had actually opened the account in April 2018, and did not change her login credentials until January 2019.
Worden has been charged with making false statements on two occasions. If convicted, she faces up to five years in prison on each count, and a possible $250,000 maximum fine, according to the Department of Justice.
Worden is expected to make her first appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dena H. Palermo on April 13.
A NASA spokesperson said that the allegations against McClain “were not a factor in the decision to ultimately cancel the spacewalk.”