Neil Gordon via POGO: “On Wednesday [January 23, 2014], the Justice Department filed its long-awaited complaint in a False Claims Act lawsuit against background check contractor U.S. Investigations Services (USIS). In October last year, Justice announced it had intervened in the lawsuit, which was filed in 2011 by former USIS employee Blake Percival. Percival’s complaint is posted here.
The government claims that, from March 2008 through September 2012, USIS defrauded the government by submitting at least 665,000 incomplete background investigations of current or prospective federal and contractor employees, which were used to determine eligibility for access to classified information and suitability for sensitive jobs. Specifically, the government accuses USIS of engaging in a practice known inside the company as “dumping” or “flushing,” through which it allegedly submitted investigations that it falsely claimed were complete and had undergone quality review. The government paid USIS between $95 and $2,500 for each of these 665,000 investigations (about 40 percent of USIS’s total workload during that time period) and also paid USIS more than $11.7 million in annual performance bonuses. USIS made national news last year as the firm responsible for the background investigations of Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis and NSA surveillance program whistleblower Edward Snowden. It is not clear from the government’s complaint whether USIS’s 2011 investigation of Snowden is among the thousands USIS allegedly falsified. (USIS’s investigation of Alexis, conducted in 2007, is presumably outside the scope of the lawsuit.) It also does not state whether USIS’s alleged fraud resulted in any serious security breaches or if any of the allegedly tainted background investigations had to be reopened…”