Woman who accused NASA astronaut wife of hacking bank account charged with false allegations

Last year, Summer Worden accused her estranged wife, Anne McClain, of accessing her bank account from aboard the International Space Station.

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By Elisha Fieldstadt

A former Air Force intelligence officer who accused her NASA astronaut wife of hacking her bank account from space has been charged with two counts of making false statements to federal authorities, the Justice Department announced Monday.

A Houston federal grand jury returned the two-count indictment against Summer Worden, of Wichita, Kansas, in late February.

Last year, Worden, 44, accused her estranged wife, Anne McClain, of accessing her bank account from aboard the International Space Station.

She filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and later lodged the same allegation against McClain in an interview with NASA's Office of the Inspector General, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Texas.

Worden said she had opened a new account in September 2018 and reset her login credentials in order to prevent McClain from accessing her accounts, but the indictment against her alleges she opened the account in April 2018 and did not change her login credentials until January 2019.

Worden, a former Air Force intelligence officer, is expected in court on April 13. She faces up to five years in prison on each count and a possible $250,000 maximum fine, according to the Justice Department.

She said Monday that she accidentally gave investigators the wrong date of the bank account opening, but later corrected the information, The New York Times reported. “I didn’t misrepresent anything,” Worden said.

Worden and McClain were in the midst of a divorce and custody battle over a 6-year-old son when Worden made the allegations about the account. Worden said she had given "evidence to my attorneys that she did access my bank accounts,” and that her attorneys had written to the NASA Office of Inspector General in July to report the breach.

McClain, a West Point graduate who became a commissioned Army officer before joining NASA in 2013, was scheduled to be a part of the first all-female spacewalk scheduled for March 2019, but the mission was scrapped when the International Space Station did not have enough spacesuits in the right size for two women, which NASA was heavily criticized for.

Russian space agency rescue team help U.S. astronaut Anne McClain out from the capsule shortly after the landing of the Russian Soyuz MS-11 space capsule on June 25, 2019.Alexander Nemenov / Pool via AP file

The first all-female spacewalk was later completed by Christina Koch and Jessica Meir.

Following the accusation from her wife, McClain's attorney told The New York Times that McClain was merely checking the account to make sure the family’s finances were in order. McClain continued using a password for the account she had used before and that she had never been informed by Worden that the account was off limits, the attorney said.

In a statement posted on Twitter at the time, McClain wrote that an investigation by the Inspector General would prove that there was "unequivocally no truth" to her wife's claims.

McClain remains a lieutenant colonel in the Army, and as of last year was on the short list to become the first woman to walk on the moon.