It’s a tale as old as time: Military scientist meets prostitute. Scientist falls in love with prostitute. Scientist gets prostitute hired as an Air Force Research Laboratory contractor. A federal investigation ensues.
A recently unsealed search warrant details an extensive scam by Jim Gord, a senior researcher of advanced propulsion technologies at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and an unnamed female escort with whom he was in a sexual relationship.
He urged a lab contractor and friend to hire the woman based on her fraudulent resume — and her looks — in 2017. He also moved federal funding around to pay her salary and named her as the chair of a scientific panel on engine and rocket technology despite her lack of experience.
“He met with [redacted] on several occasions and paid her $400 an hour for various sexual acts,” according to a December 2019 search warrant application that was recently unsealed in federal court and posted on Monday by the Daily Beast. “Gord declared his love for [redacted] and she declared hers for him.”
The Daily Beast first reported on the saga Monday. Neither Gord nor the woman have faced charges, the publication said.
Online obituary sites show Gord died of an unnamed cause last year.
The scheme came to light in 2019, when Spectral Energies owner Sukesh Roy told military investigators that Gord, who managed the funding for his company’s Air Force contract, was “engaging in unethical government contract negotiations, had communicated threats of violence and was regularly soliciting prostitution while on the installation and while traveling on official U.S. Air Force business,” according to a 2019 affidavit filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
Gord suggested that Roy hire the woman, who he claimed he’d met on a flight to Washington and had become something of a mentor to after several personal and professional meetings. The company had contracted with AFRL for nearly 20 years and provided in-depth imagery of engines.
“Gord highly encouraged Roy to hire [her], speaking favorably of [her] technical expertise,” the affidavit stated. “He then finished by stating, ‘She’s also really hot.’”
The woman started work as an administrative technician at Spectral Energies, but “did not fully understand how to use basic word processing and document creation software, and struggled to formulate coherent interoffice emails,” the affidavit said.
She failed to complete tasks on time, and did not provide nonexistent college transcripts that she claimed would come from the University of Tennessee, University of Cincinnati and University of South Florida.
In reality, she was a prostitute whom Gord — who was married for more than 30 years — met in Cincinnati. He charged the woman’s $400-per-hour rate for sex to his government credit card, as well as that of several other escorts that he hired around the country.
Roy confronted Gord about the issue and asked him to cut off their contact. Gord grew angry and threatened to bring a gun to work to “end it all,” the affidavit said.
“Gord also reminded Roy, of Bangladeshi ethnicity, that Gord was a senior research scientist at AFRL, and that as Roy was an immigrant, the ‘old boys’ club’ at AFRL would never believe Roy if he disclosed the information about a scientist as well-respected as Gord,” the affidavit said.
After working for Roy for nearly a year, the woman was hired by a rival company, Innovative Scientific Solutions Inc.
Gord funneled more than half of the $250,000 in grant money that typically went to Roy each quarter to the woman’s new company, and brought her along to scientific conferences on behalf of ISSI, the affidavit said.
“Over the next few months, several colleagues shared with Roy that Gord was introducing [redacted] around professional circles as a research assistant,” court documents show. “Roy learned that Gord had arranged for [redacted] to chair a scientific panel at an upcoming Research and Applications of Photonics in Defense conference as a technical expert.”
When agents with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations searched Gord’s office at Wright-Patterson in April 2019, they found condoms, female underwear and empty bottles of generic Viagra. They also uncovered emails discussing the need to come up with a strong cover story in case they were questioned further.
“Subsequent research and investigation has revealed this ‘story’ is almost entirely untrue,” the affidavit said.
A few months later, agents discovered nude photos and the hourly rates of various women from “Discreet Desires,” an escort service in Cincinnati, on Gord’s government laptop.
An Excel spreadsheet entitled “Burner Log” contained more than three years’ worth of Gord’s text messages with nearly 30 prostitutes across the United States, the affidavit said.
“Many of the 27 women listed on the Excel document were foreign nationals from countries considered U.S. national security concerns,” the affidavit added.
The search warrant application does not say whether the Ohio woman still works at ISSI or whether any of Gord’s escorts compromised the safety and security of the programs he handled.
The Air Force did not respond to a request for comment made Wednesday by Air Force Times.
Before his death, Gord was “an internationally recognized leader in the development and application of optical measurement techniques for advanced propulsion and fuel systems,” according to AFRL. He was named a 2016 fellow at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the world’s largest aerospace professional society at the time.
Gord “made advancements in high-power, high-repetition-rate burst-mode laser diagnostics systems, applying them to turbulent combustion and high-speed flows. His research has produced myriad fundamental technology breakthroughs in burst-mode laser measurement systems that enable scientists and engineers to better understand the performance of real-world air breathing and rocket engines,” AFRL said in a release.
Rachel Cohen is the editor of Air Force Times. She joined the publication as its senior reporter in March 2021. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Frederick News-Post (Md.), Air and Space Forces Magazine, Inside Defense, Inside Health Policy and elsewhere.