DOJ Says Company That Vetted Snowden Faked 665,000 Background Checks
from the well-of-course dept
Not only that, but the practice of scamming the government seems to have been the official policy of the organization, clearly described in various emails. Basically, USIS was paid based on each completed background check, and realized it was a lot more profitable to "complete" them by not doing most of the actual work (pricey!) and just take the money (profits!).
Beginning in at least March 2008 and continuing through at least September 2012, USIS management devised and executed a scheme to deliberately circumvent contractually required quality reviews of completed background investigations in order to increase the company’s revenues and profits. Specifically, USIS devised a practice referred to internally as “dumping” or “flushing,” which involved releasing cases to OPM and representing them as complete when, in fact, not all ROIs comprising those cases had received a quality review as required by the Fieldwork Contracts.Oh, and it became so profitable, they set up a computer program to help them defraud the government and not complete background checks. No joke.
USIS engaged in the practice of dumping in order to meet budgeted goals and, therefore, increase its revenues and profits. Given that USIS was paid by OPM for each completed case, the more cases USIS completed each month the more money it received from OPM. USIS’s dumping practices also enabled the company to receive annual performance incentive payments that it would not otherwise have been entitled to receive absent the dumping
Initially, USIS would dump cases manually. Soon after the dumping started, however, USIS began using a software program called Blue Zone to assist in the dumping practices. Through Blue Zone, USIS was able to identify a large number of background investigations, quickly make an electronic “Review Complete” notation indicating that the ROIs at issue had gone through the review process even if they had not, and then automatically release all of those ROIs to OPM with the “Review Complete” notation attached. By using Blue Zone, USIS was able to substantially increase the number of background investigations that could be dumped in a short time period.You have to hand it to them. Not only did they figure out how to scam the government, they sure as hell did it efficiently. That's the American spirit at work!
In fact, it appears this became a key part of how USIS worked. Originally, it would only "dump" unfinished cases at the end of each day if it was behind schedule. But, later it realized it could get paid more by dumping these cases repeatedly during the day. No need to build up a queue, just dump... and get paid.
The DOJ also has emails showing that senior management was well aware this was going on and even participated or encouraged the activity.
Internal USIS documents confirm that USIS Senior Management was aware of and directed the dumping practices. For example, in one undated internal document, a USIS employee discussing the dumping practices stated: “They will dump cases when word comes from above, such as from [the President of Investigative Service Division] and [the President/CEO]. In the past, [the President of Investigative Service Division] and [the President/CEO] have told us to clear out our shelves in order to hit revenue. When this is done they will dump all [priority code] 6. If [the President of Investigative Service Division] and [the President/CEO] tell them they need to clear out more then they will dump [priority code] 5’s.... Last July through September we were dumping all [priority code] 4, 5, and 6’s per [the President of Investigative Service Division] and [the President/CEO].”There's also an email in which a "Workload Leader" tells the top "quality" assurance execs:
Another email chain dated September 16 and 17, 2010 involving USIS’s Vice President of Field Operations and its President of Investigative Service Division, among others, discussed the need to dump cases to meet revenue goals. The Vice President of Field Operations referenced USIS’s revenue situation as “[w]e all own this baby, and right now we are holding one ugly baby.” The USIS Workload Leader in Western Pennsylvania forwarded that email to the Director of National Quality Assurance and the Quality Control Manager in Western Pennsylvania and responded: “The only two things we can do in review to get them out faster is to (a) hire or (b) dump.... I don’t know if there’s any other levers left to flip other than dumping everything we know is bad. Just a side note, the more MSPC [Master Scheduling Production Control] rams through, the more the field will transmit sub-standards, and the more [the number of cases needing secondary review] will go up. Come EOM [End of Month], if they’re going to tell us to just dump all those cases anyways without a proper review, which [sic] will only make that ugly baby even uglier...”
"Shelves are as clean as they could get. Flushed everything like a dead goldfish."Oh, and another:
"t'is Flushy McFlushershon at his merry hijinks again!! **leprechaun dance**...I'm not tired..."So, remember, folks, when Senator Dianne Feinstein insists the NSA would never abuse your privacy because they're professional, just realize that many of those "professionals" might not have actually gone through a background check, because it was taking away profits from a private contractor to actually do its job.