“Company allegedly misled government about security clearance checks”

June 28, 2013

The Washington Post on June 27, 2013 released the following:

By Tom Hamburger and Zachary A. Goldfarb

“Federal investigators have told lawmakers they have evidence that USIS, the contractor that screened Edward Snowden for his top-secret clearance, repeatedly misled the government about the thoroughness of its background checks, according to people familiar with the matter.

The alleged transgressions are so serious that a federal watchdog indicated he plans to recommend that the Office of Personnel Management, which oversees most background checks, end ties with USIS unless it can show it is performing responsibly, the people said.

Cutting off USIS could present a major logistical quagmire for the nation’s already-jammed security clearance process. The federal government relies heavily on contractors to approve workers for some of its most sensitive jobs in defense and intelligence. Falls Church-based USIS is the largest single private provider for government background checks.

The inspector general of OPM, working with the Justice Department, is examining whether USIS failed to meet a contractual obligation that it would conduct reviews of all background checks the company performed on behalf of government agencies, the people familiar with the matter said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the investigation has not yet been resolved.

After conducting an initial background check of a candidate for employment, USIS was required to perform a second review to make sure no important details had been missed. From 2008 through 2011, USIS allegedly skipped this second review in up to 50 percent of the cases. But it conveyed to federal officials that these reviews had, in fact, been performed.

The shortcut made it appear that USIS was more efficient than it actually was and may have triggered incentive awards for the company, the people briefed on the matter said. Investigators, who have briefed lawmakers on the allegations, think the strategy may have originated with senior executives, the people said.

Ray Howell, director of corporate communications at USIS, declined to comment on Thursday.

In a statement last week, USIS said it received a subpoena from the inspector general of OPM in January 2012. “USIS complied with that subpoena and has cooperated fully with the government’s civil investigative efforts,” the statement said. The company would not comment on the Snowden case.

It is not known whether USIS did anything improper on its 2011 background check of Snowden, the 30-year-old who leaked documents about the inner workings of the NSA and is now the subject of a global drama. He gained access to those documents after he was cleared to work at NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.

Last week, Patrick E. McFarland, the inspector general of OPM, said he has concerns about Snowden’s background check. “We do believe that there may be some problems,” he said.

The broader concerns about background checks are not limited to USIS. McFarland’s office has 47 open investigations into alleged wrongdoing by individuals in the background checks industry, according to a statement from the inspector general’s office. Separately, since 2006, the watchdog has won convictions in 18 cases in which employees claimed to have verified information that ultimately turned out to be false or not even checked.

“There is an alarmingly insufficient level of oversight of the federal investigative-services program,” McFarland said last week in congressional testimony. “A lack of independent verification of the organization that conducts these important background investigations is a clear threat to national security.”

McFarland’s office declined to comment on the details of the investigation. “We have never indicated whether the case was criminal, civil, or administrative,” a statement from the office said.

Last week, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said USIS is the subject of a criminal probe as a result of a “systematic failure” to conduct background checks. She did not elaborate. A spokesperson said Thursday that the senator stands by her statement.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who chairs a Homeland Security subcommittee, said he plans to introduce legislation within two weeks to increase oversight of the security clearance process, including giving inspectors general more power to audit funding and other aspects of the massive effort to provide 4.9 million Americans with authorized access to classified and other sensitive government information.

“I cannot believe that this is handled in such a shoddy and cavalier manner,” Tester said in an interview Thursday. “I personally believe that if you are under criminal investigation, you should be suspended from the process until it is resolved.”

Tester added: “We have spent hundreds of billions in this country trying to keep classified information classified and to keep people from outside coming in. And what we see here is that we have a problem from the inside.”

USIS, which was spun off from the federal government in the 1990s, has become the dominant player in the background checks business. It does about 45 percent of all background checks for OPM, according to congressional staffers. USIS has 7,000 employees.

USIS has been under financial pressure in recent years because of federal cutbacks and less generous contracts from the government, according to financial analysts working at Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. The firm’s parent company, Altegrity, is owned by Providence Equity Partners, a private equity firm. USIS has two main competitors, KeyPoint Government Solutions and CACI.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


“1 bank robbery suspect killed, 2 others arrested, FBI says”

May 11, 2013

Chicago Tribune on May 11, 2013 released the following:

“FBI agents shot one bank robbery suspect dead and arrested two others at a bank in the small town of Richmond on Friday, investigators said.

Federal investigators had been tailing the three men on I-90 and to the bank because they were suspected of previous bank robberies and were thought to be planning another, a source close to the investigation said.

FBI spokeswoman Joan Hyde said the men “had been the subject of an investigation,” but declined to elaborate.

The shooting occurred at about 11:30 a.m. in the parking lot of Associated Bank at 10910 N. Main St. in Richmond, on Route 12 just west of the Chain O’ Lakes near Wisconsin. Hyde did not know what precipitated the shooting, but said the suspects never entered the bank.

Photos from the scene showed the car had driven off the pavement of the parking lot and appeared to hit a pole and slightly smashed its front end. No bystanders or investigators were injured, Hyde said.

The scene remained blocked off Friday evening, and Route 12 was closed in the area. An FBI evidence response team was on the scene and investigators questioned witnesses.

Though the investigation was out of the FBI’s Chicago office, the two suspects were taken to Winnebago County Jail in Rockford, where the agency has a satellite office, Hyde said

Associated Bank released the following statement: “Our customers and colleagues at our Richmond branch are safe and secure. We are fully cooperating with local law enforcement to help resolve the situation.”

A woman who works in the business next door said workers were terrified by the shooting.

Geri Rubel, an accountant at a firm in an adjoining part of the bank building, said she heard two bursts of rapid, automatic gunfire outside, one short and one long. She and her co-workers looked out the front window of her office and saw men with guns running through the parking lot toward the bank.

“That scared the (expletive) out of us,” she said. “We locked the door, went to a corner of the room and cried because we didn’t know what was going on. I thought of my kids, and called the high school (to alert them).”

They peeked out the window occasionally, until she said a police officer came to tell them that investigators had been staking out the bank, believing a robbery was planned. The FBI would not comment on whether a robbery had been thwarted.

Rubel said the dead man was in the parking lot, and another man was taken away in handcuffs in a black SUV. The men she saw with the guns turned out to be law enforcement agents.

“This kind of thing doesn’t happen ever here,” Rubel said. “I hear about it in the city (of Chicago). This is a small town. It’s not something you expect to see here.”

The police response was so quick that it seemed obvious they expected the robbery, she said. “To have all of them within 30 seconds, I’m thinking they must have known something,” Rubel said.

McHenry County Undersheriff Andrew Zinke said his office was called to help the FBI and Richmond and Spring Grove police. “They had been involved in an incident out in front of the bank where a shooting had taken place,” he said.

“There is no threat or danger to the Richmond community at this point,” Zinke said.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Prosecutors Say Mortgage Fraud Epidemic Highest In Northern California

October 10, 2012

CBS Sacramento on October 9, 2012 released the following:

“Reporting Nick Janes

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Federal investigators say scammers have been targeting families on the brink of losing their homes.

As prosecutors put it, we’re talking about a tidal wave of crime against vulnerable homeowners. In our area alone, the cases involve thousands of alleged victims and losses exceeding $9 million.

“The sheer impact of foreclosures and the fraud it’s generated in our communities is simply devastating,” FBI Special Agent Herb Brown said.

Prosecutors say foreclosure fraud could be more prevalent in Northern California than anywhere else.

“More defendants were charged with federal mortgage fraud crimes in this district than any other district in the country,” said Benjamin Wagner, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District.

That’s saying something when you see the staggering numbers released Tuesday from the year-long “distressed homeowner initiative.” Multiple federal agencies combined efforts.

Nationwide, 530 defendants are charged for alleged schemes involving 73,000 victims defrauded out of more than $1 billion.

“Behind the numbers there are true stories and true victims. They can be your neighbors, they can be your family members, they can be your co-workers,” Brown said.

Locally, one scheme promised to reduce home loans by 75 percent. A Roseville duo is accused of targeting Spanish speakers with TV and radio ads. A statewide scam promised to find investors to buy mortgages at discounts.

The common theme: all demanded money up front but never delivered. Prosecutors promise their crackdown is far from over.

“More investigations are under way and we expect that more prosecutions will arise as a result of the initiative that was started in the past year,” Wagner said.

Unfortunately, as is the case in most fraud cases, even after conviction prosecutors say the chance of victims getting their money back is very small.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


FBI probes Foothills Regional Airport

June 13, 2012

Winston-Salem Journal on June 13, 2012 released the following:

“By: Sharon McBrayer and Julie N. Chang | Media General News Service

MORGANTON —
The FBI is investigating Foothills Regional Airport and two of its employees have been suspended without pay.

A news release Tuesday from Foothills Regional Airport Authority said a federal criminal investigation involves two employees of the airport, Alex Nelson and Brad Adkins. Nelson was the airport manager but Adkins did not hold a management position, according to airport officials.

“The Airport continues normal operations without interruption,” the statement said. “Brent Brinkley, a long time employee, has been appointed as acting administrator.”

FBI Public Affairs Specialist Shelley Lynch said, “As a matter of Department of Justice policy, the FBI can neither confirm nor deny the existence of investigations.”

According to the FBI’s website, it investigates public corruption, major white-collar crime, significant violent crime, civil rights violations and transnational/national criminal organizations and enterprises and cyber-based attacks and high-technology crimes, along with national security threats.

Airport Authority Chairman and Burke County Commissioner Chair Wayne Abele said Tuesday no one has been charged with anything and federal investigators haven’t given them any information about the investigation.

“All I know is it’s an ongoing investigation,” Abele said.

Abele said about 10 FBI personnel showed up at the airport last Tuesday, accompanied by Caldwell County Sheriff’s deputies, and seized records and computers.

“The FBI, they don’t charge people unless they have a concrete case,” Abele said.

The public airport, located on NC 18, receives funding from Burke and Caldwell counties and the cities of Morganton and Lenoir. The funding the airport received in the 2011-12 budgets of the two counties and two cities were:

  • Caldwell County — $48,254, which includes money for capital improvements; and $30,017 in property taxes the county collects on planes, said Stan Kiser, Caldwell County manager.
  • Burke County — $36,246 for operating expenses; $4,166 in capital improvement money; and $4,100 from property taxes paid on planes, said Paul Ijames, Burke County finance director and assistant county manager. He said more planes are kept on the Caldwell County side. He said even though $4,100 was budgeted for taxes, only $3,300 has been collected so far in property taxes on the 20 planes listed for the Burke County side.
  • City of Morganton — $38,088 for operating expenses and $4,166 in capital funding, said City Manager Sally Sandy.
  • City of Lenoir — $42,320 total for operating and capital expenses, said Kaye Reynolds, communications and resource director for the city of Lenoir.

None of the boards of the four governments has voted on their individual budgets for next year.

Each one of the four has a representative on the Airport Authority, which alerted the two counties and two cities about the investigation, according to the release from city of Morganton Attorney Louis Vinay. Vinay also is acting as the authority’s attorney after its previous one retired, Kiser said.

Cuts to the airport’s budget from the four member entities resulted in a $42,000 revenue shortfall on the operations side, Nelson recently told the Burke County Board of Commissioners. The airport made internal cuts, shortened operational hours and skipped on mowing to cut that amount down to about $24,000, Nelson said at the time.

The airport planned on asking each entity for additional money for this fiscal year, Nelson said.

During that recent meeting, Burke County Commissioner Maynard Taylor questioned why the airport needed more money and why it isn’t self-supporting. He also questioned what the average county resident received from the airport.

“We’re spending more money than we have every year to keep this thing above ground so to speak, but the average citizen in Burke – what are they getting for that,” Taylor said in previous reports.

The airport’s condition has improved since the authority took over, Abele said at the meeting.

At the time, Nelson said the airport is a “tourism magnet,” adding that area colleges recruiting athletes use the airport.

Burke County commissioners have put off the funding request.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.