The contractor tasked with performing background checks for the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has been fined $30 million for not really completing their background checks.
U.S. Investigations Services Inc. (USIS) will forego the money, which they were to collect from the OPM, after “failing to perform required quality control reviews on contracts for background investigations.”
The government alleged that beginning in at least March 2008 and continuing through at least September 2012, USIS deliberately circumvented contractually required quality reviews of completed background investigations in order to increase the company’s revenues and profits. Specifically, USIS allegedly 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 the reports of investigations comprising those cases had received a contractually-required quality review. The government contended that, relying upon USIS’ false representations, OPM issued payments and contract incentives to USIS that it would not otherwise have issued had OPM been aware that the background investigations had not gone through the quality review process required by the contracts.
In other words, USIS ok’ed a lot of people without actually providing the proper reviews.
“Shortcuts taken by any company that we have entrusted to conduct background investigations of future and current federal employees are unacceptable,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The Justice Department will ensure that those who do business with the government provide all of the services for which we bargained.”
USIS was the company that checked Edward Snowden. The US government severed ties with USIS in September of 2014. Its parent company, Altegrity, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.