Homeland Security -OIG

Four Individuals Indicted for Fraudulently Obtaining Pandemic Unemployment Benefits for Virginia Prison Inmates

Four Individuals Indicted for Fraudulently Obtaining Pandemic Unemployment Benefits for Virginia Prison Inmates For Information Contact

Public Affairs (202) 254-4100

adrian.edwards Mon, 04/12/2021 - 11:26

For Immediate Release

Friday, April 9, 2021 Download PDF (116.22 KB)

NORFOLK, Va. – A federal grand jury returned an indictment yesterday charging four individuals with allegedly participating in a conspiracy to use the personal identifying information of 35 Virginia prison inmates in order to fraudulently obtain over $300,000 in pandemic-related unemployment benefits.    

“As alleged in the indictment, the defendants deliberately stole funds intended for members of our community who have faced financial hardship and unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “EDVA will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to safeguard these critical taxpayer-funded resources and hold accountable those who unlawfully line their pockets at the expense of the American people.”

According to the indictment, Mary Benton, 38, of Portsmouth, and Angelica CartwrightPowers, 35, of Norfolk, allegedly worked with two inmates at Virginia correctional institutions to collect the personally identifiable information of other inmates to fraudulently apply for Virginia unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Benton allegedly submitted successful applications for Virginia unemployment benefits for 31 inmates across three Virginia correctional facilities. Cartwright-Powers allegedly submitted successful applications for four inmates at one correctional facility. 

“Fraudulently exploiting COVID-19 relief funds for personal gain is unconscionable,” said Joseph V. Cuffari, Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security. “Today’s indictment sends a clear message that DHS OIG will fully investigate fraud affecting FEMA funds and continue to work with our law enforcement partners to bring an end to these
schemes.”

“Investigating fraud involving the Unemployment Insurance Program is an important part of the mission of the U.S. Department of Labor - Office of Inspector General, particularly during a time when our nation is providing billions of dollars in unemployment benefits to American workers in need of assistance due to the continuing economic effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Derek Pickle, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington, DC Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to vigorously investigate unemployment insurance fraud.”

According to the indictment, co-conspirator Michael Lee Lewis, Jr., 41, of Chesapeake, allegedly provided information for inmates at the Augusta Correctional Center, where he was incarcerated. Michael Anthony White, 38, of Chesapeake, allegedly provided information for inmates at the Lawrenceville Correctional Center, where he was incarcerated. The four individuals charged in this indictment, along with the prisoners whose information was used for the unemployment applications, allegedly shared the proceeds of their crimes, which amounted to approximately $334,667. Although the conspirators initially and allegedly obtained $436,834, the Virginia Employment Commission was able to reclaim some of the disbursed funds after discovering the fraud.

During the pandemic, both the federal government and the Virginia Employment Commission expanded unemployment benefits both by increasing the monetary amount, and by making benefits accessible for the self-employed, contractors, and gig workers, who have not historically qualified for unemployment. However, inmates remained ineligible for such benefits, and each application that Benton and Cartwright-Powers submitted allegedly contained numerous false statements that made the application successful, such as the inmates’ contact information and last employer, and that they were ready and willing to work.

Benton is charged with one count of conspiracy, three counts of fraud in connection with major disaster benefits, and three counts of mail fraud. Lewis and White are each charged with one count of conspiracy and two counts of mail fraud. Cartwright-Powers is charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of fraud in connection with major disaster benefits, and one count of mail fraud. If convicted, the conspirators face a maximum of five years in prison on the conspiracy count and thirty years in prison on each fraud count.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. 

Raj Parekh, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Joseph V. Cuffari, Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security; Derek Pickle, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Washington, DC Regional Office, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General; and Paul Haymes, Chief of Investigations, Virginia Department of Corrections, Special Investigations Unit, made the announcement.

This investigation was conducted under the auspices of “Operation Checkmate,” the Virginia Department of Corrections Inmate Unemployment Insurance Fraud Task Force.  The task force is led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, DOLOIG, DHS-OIG, and the Virginia Department of Corrections. This investigation included assistance from the U.S. Secret Service’s Richmond Field Office, the Portsmouth Police Department, and the Virginia Employment Commission.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca Gantt is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:21-cr-33. An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
 

###

DHS Office of the Inspector General, www.oig.dhs.gov

Criminal Investigations FEMA

Federal Contractor Agrees to Pay More Than $6 Million to Settle Overbilling Allegations

Federal Contractor Agrees to Pay More Than $6 Million to Settle Overbilling Allegations For Information Contact

Public Affairs (202) 254-4100

adrian.edwards Fri, 03/05/2021 - 12:48

For Immediate Release

Friday, February 19, 2021 Download PDF (127.37 KB)

Virginia-based Information Innovators Inc. (Triple-I) has agreed to pay the United States $6.05 million to resolve allegations that a predecessor company, Creative Computing Solutions Inc. (CCSi), violated the False Claims Act by knowingly overbilling the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for work performed by CCSi employees who lacked required job qualifications.

Triple-I, which provides IT services and solutions to federal agencies, acquired Maryland-based CCSi in 2015. CCSi formerly provided IT services to DHS pursuant to an Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge Solutions Contract (EAGLE Contract). The settlement resolves allegations that, from October 2007 to April 2014, CCSi knowingly submitted claims for payment to DHS for work performed by CCSi employees who lacked required job qualifications.  CCSi allegedly violated the terms of the EAGLE Contract by using under-qualified personnel who were billed to DHS at higher rates reserved for more qualified employees.

“Contractors that knowingly overcharge the government will be held accountable,” said Acting Attorney General Brian M. Boynton of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The department will ensure that that those who do business with the government, and seek taxpayer funds, do so fairly and in accordance with their contractual commitments.”

“Defense contractors are required to bill for costs actually incurred, and to be truthful in the claims they submit to federal agencies,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner for the District of Maryland. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our partners are committed to protecting taxpayer dollars and ensuring integrity and compliance with federal agency standards.”

“DHS OIG remains committed to protecting government programs, and American taxpayers who contribute to them,
from fraudsters,” said Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari. “Our agency, working closely with our law enforcement partners, will continue to root out these unlawful contracting fraud schemes.”

The settlement was a result of a joint investigation by the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch (Fraud Section), the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, and the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General’s Major Frauds and Corruption Unit. The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.

Attachment(s):

Topic(s):
False Claims Act

Component(s):
Civil Division

USAO - Maryland

Press Release Number:
21-163

###

DHS Office of the Inspector General, www.oig.dhs.gov

False Claims Act Investigations

Serial Fraudster From Orlando Sentenced To More Than Six Years In Federal Prison

Serial Fraudster From Orlando Sentenced To More Than Six Years In Federal Prison For Information Contact

Public Affairs (202) 254-4100

adrian.edwards Thu, 03/04/2021 - 12:39

For Immediate Release

Thursday, January 14, 2021 Download PDF (82.82 KB)

Orlando, Florida – U.S. District Judge Paul G. Byron has sentenced Jermica Jerri Dominick Brooks (37, Orlando) a/k/a “Jermica Jerri Dominick Sykes” to six years and nine months in federal prison for two separate wire fraud schemes and aggravated identity theft. The court also ordered Brooks to forfeit more than $25,000, which is traceable to benefits she had received as a result of the offenses.

Brooks had pleaded guilty on November 12, 2020.

According to court documents, following Hurricane Irma in 2017, Brooks used stolen identities to file five applications for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Brooks had obtained the personally identifiable information of certain victims during the course of her employment at a local plumbing business, where she worked as an office manager in or about 2016.  Brooks obtained other stolen identities by purchasing the information through illicit channels. At sentencing, a victim informed the Court that she was unable to obtain FEMA assistance following Hurricane Irma because Brooks had already filed a fraudulent application in her name.

In a separate scheme, from January through May 2018, Brooks applied for and obtained 10 apartment leases in the names of identity theft victims. She used unauthorized or nonexistent financial account information to make it appear that her application and initial rent payments were legitimate, and feigned personal emergencies to secure occupancy in the leased apartments before those electronic payments were returned or rejected. Those leases resulted in a series of evictions in the names of Brooks’s victims. According to victims’ statements provided to the Court at sentencing, Brooks’s repeated use of their identities resulted in significant hardships surrounding their efforts to secure credit, housing, and car loans.

This case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security – Office of the Inspector General, the Orlando Police Department, the Casselberry Police Department, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, and the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Emily C. L. Chang.
 

###

DHS Office of the Inspector General, www.oig.dhs.gov

Criminal Investigations

DHS OIG Participates in the 2nd Annual National “Slam the Scam” Day

DHS OIG Participates in the 2nd Annual National “Slam the Scam” Day For Information Contact

Public Affairs (202) 981-6000

adrian.edwards Thu, 03/04/2021 - 10:54

For Immediate Release

Thursday, March 4, 2021 Download PDF (172.07 KB)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) joins the Social Security Administration (SSA) OIG and other Federal agencies on March 4, 2021 for the 2nd Annual National “Slam the Scam” Day, to raise public awareness of government imposter telephone scams across the United States.

DHS OIG joins SSA OIG in warning all Americans to hang up on all government imposters, and asking them to spread the word to family and friends.  These pervasive scams—in which callers pretend to be government employees to mislead victims into providing personal information or making payments—have become a scourge on the American public.  

Most recently, scammers, posing as DHS officials, have used Facebook and Instagram accounts in an attempt to swindle money through Cash App and gift cards.  The scammers may use one of the following forms of contact:
•    Sending a direct message to a victim through Facebook or Instagram to solicit money;
•    Posting on a victim’s Facebook timeline to advertise Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance, which includes contact information or a link; or
•    Creating “highlights” on an Instagram account homepage, which advertise ways to make money.

In a direct message, the perpetrator indicates that if the victim sends money through Cash App, the victim will receive a substantial dividend in return, e.g., $10 for $1500, $200 for $5500, or $650 for $7000.  Variations of the Facebook posts include offering COVID-19 relief assistance via Cash App by paying a grant-processing fee, requesting comments on a Facebook page and then directing the victim to purchase gifts cards to receive a dividend paid by FEMA, and soliciting contributions to fraudulent organizations such as “FEMA World Health.”  The Instagram “highlights” connect to sites advertising FEMA assistance and provide instructions on how to send money to receive money in return.

DHS OIG reminds you this “Slam the Scam” Day that if you are contacted through social media, do not provide any personal information.  DHS and FEMA will never contact you using Facebook or Instagram.  FEMA does not request grant-processing fees for benefits and will not request that you contribute to causes or charities using gifts cards or CashApp payments.  FEMA does not issue dividends.  We encourage the public to report these scams to Facebook and Instagram.  

DHS OIG takes these matters very seriously.  Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of this scam is urged to call the DHS OIG Hotline (1-800-323-8603) or file a complaint online via the DHS OIG website www.oig.dhs.gov/hotline.  By retaining information such as the CashApp account, the Facebook profile, Instagram handle, or email address you were contacted on, you may be able to provide valuable information that could assist DHS OIG to investigate the scam.  

For more information regarding SSA OIG’s National “Slam the Scam” day activity you can visit SSA OIG. 

###

DHS Office of the Inspector General, www.oig.dhs.gov

FEMA MGMT

CEO Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Multiple Federal Agencies

CEO Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Multiple Federal Agencies For Information Contact

Public Affairs (202) 254-4100

adrian.edwards Wed, 02/17/2021 - 10:46

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, February 3, 2021 Download PDF (126.94 KB)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – An Arlington businessman pleaded guilty today to making false statements to multiple federal agencies in order to fraudulently obtain multimillion-dollar government contracts, COVID-19 emergency relief loans, and undeserved military service benefits.

According to court documents, Robert S. Stewart, Jr., 35, was the owner and president of Federal Government Experts (FGE) LLC, an Arlington-based company that purported to provide various services to the U.S. government. In this capacity, Stewart made false statements to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in order to obtain lucrative contracts to provide COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE). In addition, Stewart fraudulently obtained loans under the federal Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, and he also defrauded the VA by falsely claiming to be entitled to veteran’s benefits for serving in the U.S. Marine Corps when, in fact, he never served in the Marines.

“Stewart’s fraudulent conduct during a critical time in our Nation’s fight against COVID-19 undermined the government’s ability to provide much needed PPE to the community, including to the front-line health care workers serving our military veterans,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “In addition, by fraudulently obtaining government-backed loans intended to be lifelines to keep businesses afloat, Stewart unlawfully took and misused resources devoted to help struggling Americans.”

As part of his PPE scheme, Stewart falsely stated to procurement officials from FEMA and the VA that he was in possession of large quantities of PPE, including N95 masks. Based on Stewart’s false statements, the VA and FEMA awarded FGE contracts valued at $35,000,000 and $3,510,000, respectively. The VA intended to use the PPE purchased from FGE to protect employees and patients at various Veterans Health Administration facilities, which serve the medical needs of over nine million veterans each year. FGE failed to supply any PPE to the VA and FEMA. The U.S. government suffered no financial loss because the contract called for payment upon delivery and inspection of the goods.

“Exploiting COVID-19 relief efforts for personal gain, to receive lucrative contracts with no intention of fulfilling them, is unconscionable,” said DHS Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari. “I am proud of everyone at DHS OIG who worked on this case. I am also thankful to our law enforcement partners who helped us bring a swift end to this scheme.”

Stewart also applied for various loans on behalf of FGE under the federal Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. These programs were designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of people suffering the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The loan applications submitted by Stewart falsely overstated the number of FGE employees and the amount of FGE’s payroll, two factors that were important in determining loan eligibility and the proper amount of the loan. In addition, Stewart used some of the loan proceeds for personal expenditures rather than to pay employees or for other appropriate business expenses. The loss to the U.S. government from this fraud is approximately $261,500.

In a separate fraudulent scheme, Stewart, an Air Force veteran, submitted an application for benefits to the VA. The application was fraudulent in that Stewart falsely claimed that he also served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Stewart created fraudulent documents that stated he attained the rank of Corporal in the Marine Corps and was honorably discharged after receiving several awards and commendations, including the Rifle Expert Badge, Pistol Expert Badge, Meritorious Mast, National Defense Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Certificate of Appreciation, and the Kuwaiti Liberation Medal. Stewart, in fact, never served in the Marines. Based on his fraudulent application, he received excess benefits in the amount of $73,722.45.

“By falsely claiming to have served in the U.S. Marine Corps to unlawfully increase his veteran’s benefits, Stewart stole money dedicated to providing resources and services to American military veterans and their families. This was an affront to those who honorably served,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Parekh. “We thank our law enforcement partners for bringing Stewart to justice.”

Stewart pleaded guilty to making false statements, wire fraud, and theft of government funds and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 16, 2021. He faces a maximum penalty of 35 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; James A. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office Criminal Division; Joseph V. Cuffari, Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); and Michael J. Missal, Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Rossie D. Alston, Jr. accepted the plea.

Assistant U.S. Attorney William Fitzpatrick is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:21-cr-5.

###

DHS Office of the Inspector General, www.oig.dhs.gov

Criminal Investigations

Former U.S. Government Employee Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy To Steal U.S. Government Records and Defraud U.S. Refugee Program

Former U.S. Government Employee Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy To Steal U.S. Government Records and Defraud U.S. Refugee Program For Information Contact

Public Affairs (202) 254-4100

adrian.edwards Wed, 02/17/2021 - 09:35

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, January 26, 2021 Download PDF (96.13 KB)

WASHINGTON – An indictment charging three defendants was unsealed in the District of Columbia today.  The indictment charges Aws Muwafaq Abduljabbar, 42; Haitham Isa Saado Sad, 42; and Olesya Leonidovna Krasilova, 43, with conspiracy to steal U.S. government records and to defraud the United States, theft of U.S. government records, and conspiracy to launder money, all related to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP).  The indictment also charges Sad and Krasilova with computer fraud and abuse.  The announcement was made by Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Michael R. Sherwin, the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security, Dr. Joseph V. Cuffari, and the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) Assistant Director for Domestic Operations Ricardo Colón.

According to the indictment, Sad was employed in Amman, Jordan from 2007 to 2016 by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Krasilova held a similar position at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia.  Part of their duties included processing applications for refugee resettlement in the United States through the USRAP.  The indictment charges that, from approximately February 2016 until at least April 2019, the three defendants, led by Abduljabbar, conspired to steal U.S. government records related to hundreds of USRAP applications.  The records contained sensitive, non-public information about refugee applicants, their family members, their employment and military history, their accounts of persecution or fear of persecution, the results of security checks, and internal assessments by U.S. officials regarding applications.

As outlined in the indictment, the theft of USRAP records creates a number of risks to public safety and national security while imposing significant costs on the U.S. government, its taxpayers, and otherwise legitimate refugee applicants negatively impacted by the scheme.  Defendants Abduljabbar and Sad were previously arrested and remain held without bond.  Defendant Krasilova remains at large.

“The charges unsealed today demonstrate the commitment of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to protect the integrity of critical government functions like the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, which exists to identify and admit qualified refugees for resettlement in the United States,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin for the District of Columbia.  “It is important to hold accountable those who would seek to defraud such programs, particularly when the crimes compromise our national security and public safety, when they impose such high costs on taxpayers, and when they negatively impact the prospects of qualified refugee applicants.”

“This indictment sends a strong message: the Diplomatic Security Service is committed to making sure that those who are alleged to have stolen U.S. government records related to refugee admissions face consequences for their criminal actions,” said DSS Assistant Director for Domestic Operations Ricardo Colón. “This case demonstrates the collaborative efforts of our law enforcement partners, and showcases the forensic and investigative capabilities of DSS.”

“Individuals like Ms. Krasilova and Mr. Sad are entrusted to protect the integrity of the U.S. immigration system and sensitive information vital to our national security interests,” said Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Dr. Joseph V. Cuffari.  “The Office of Inspector General remains committed to aggressively investigating DHS employees who abuse their positions, betray the public trust, and conspire with persons such as Mr. Abduljabbar to defraud the United States.”

The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.  The maximum penalty for conspiracy to commit an offense or defraud the United States is five years; the maximum penalty for theft of government records is 10 years; the maximum penalty for conspiracy to launder money is 20 years; and the maximum penalty for the charged computer fraud and abuse is five years.  The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes.  If convicted of any offense, a defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

This case is being investigated jointly by the DHS Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Luke M. Jones and Erik M. Kenerson of the National Security Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.  The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs assisted.

###

DHS Office of the Inspector General, www.oig.dhs.gov

Criminal Investigations

International Technological University Pay $1.17 Million Settle False Claims Act Allegations Related Student Visa

International Technological University Pay $1.17 Million Settle False Claims Act Allegations Related Student Visa For Information Contact

Public Affairs (202) 981-6000

adrian.edwards Thu, 01/28/2021 - 09:48

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, January 27, 2021 Download PDF (193.42 KB)

On January 8, 2021, the International Technological University (ITU) in Santa Clara, California, entered into a settlement agreement with the United States to pay $1,170,000 under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, in order to settle allegations related to student visa fraud.  

ITU, a non-profit educational institution, participates in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, the component within Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) that manages the certification process for U.S. educational institutions seeking to enroll nonimmigrant students.  To qualify for a visa under the program, a foreign national must apply and be admitted to an approved U.S. educational institution, and then submit a visa application to the Department of State. 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) initiated this investigation based on allegations that between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2015, ITU did not comply with federal immigration laws governing the issuance of student visas.  Specifically, ITU is alleged to have knowingly submitted false forms for foreign nationals seeking to qualify for a student visa, depriving the United States of visa application fees.   

This matter was jointly investigated by DHS OIG, HSI, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, Civil Division, San Francisco, California.  

“Greed-driven schemes to manipulate U.S. visa laws will not be tolerated,” said DHS Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari.  “Working with our law enforcement partners, our investigators will continue to protect the integrity of U.S. visa programs and related resources.” 

“Homeland Security Investigations will not allow fraud schemes to go unchecked,” said Homeland Security Investigations (NorCal) Special Agent in Charge Tatum King.  “Institutions of higher learning should always set the example and teach students the importance of their civic responsibility to obey the law.  When an institution participates in fraud schemes, it degrades the integrity of the institution and jeopardizes the individuals the institution has been entrusted to teach at an impressionable time in their lives.  HSI is grateful for the contributions of our partners with DHS OIG, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, and USCIS on this important settlement agreement.”

Officers from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) Office of Fraud Detection and National Security assisted with the early investigation in 2010 and subsequently spent thousands of hours identifying hundreds of students who were not attending class as required.  USCIS San Francisco District Director John Kramar stated, “USCIS takes integrity of our immigration system seriously and will pursue fraud and misuse with enforcement agencies.”

This settlement resolves allegations originally brought in a lawsuit filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act by Concepcion Saenz-Cambra, Ph.D., an ITU employee.  Under the False Claims Act, private parties can sue on behalf of the government for false claims for government funds and to receive a share of the recovery.  

The case is captioned U.S. ex rel. Saenz-Cambra v. International Technological University.  The claims resolved by the settlements are allegations only.

###

DHS Office of the Inspector General, www.oig.dhs.gov

False Claims Act Investigations

Three Foreign Nationals Charged with Conspiracy to Steal U.S. Government Records and Defraud U.S. Refugee Program

Three Foreign Nationals Charged with Conspiracy to Steal U.S. Government Records and Defraud U.S. Refugee Program For Information Contact

Public Affairs (202) 254-4100

adrian.edwards Fri, 01/22/2021 - 16:46

For Immediate Release

Friday, January 22, 2021 Download PDF (121.27 KB)

WASHINGTON – An indictment charging three defendants was unsealed in the District of Columbia today.  The indictment charges Aws Muwafaq Abduljabbar, 42; Haitham Isa Saado Sad, 42; and Olesya Leonidovna Krasilova, 43, with conspiracy to steal U.S. government records and to defraud the United States, theft of U.S. government records, and conspiracy to launder money, all related to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP).  The indictment also charges Sad and Krasilova with computer fraud and abuse.  The announcement was made by Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Michael R. Sherwin, the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security, Dr. Joseph V. Cuffari, and the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) Assistant Director for Domestic Operations Ricardo Colón.

According to the indictment, Sad was employed in Amman, Jordan from 2007 to 2016 by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Krasilova held a similar position at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia.  Part of their duties included processing applications for refugee resettlement in the United States through the USRAP.  The indictment charges that, from approximately February 2016 until at least April 2019, the three defendants, led by Abduljabbar, conspired to steal U.S. government records related to hundreds of USRAP applications.  The records contained sensitive, non-public information about refugee applicants, their family members, their employment and military history, their accounts of persecution or fear of persecution, the results of security checks, and internal assessments by U.S. officials regarding applications. 

As outlined in the indictment, the theft of USRAP records creates a number of risks to public safety and national security while imposing significant costs on the U.S. government, its taxpayers, and otherwise legitimate refugee applicants negatively impacted by the scheme.  Defendants Abduljabbar and Sad were previously arrested and remain held without bond.  Defendant Krasilova remains at large.
            
“The charges unsealed today demonstrate the commitment of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to protect the integrity of critical government functions like the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, which exists to identify and admit qualified refugees for resettlement in the United States,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin for the District of Columbia.  “It is important to hold accountable those who would seek to defraud such programs, particularly when the crimes compromise our national security and public safety, when they impose such high costs on taxpayers, and when they negatively impact the prospects of qualified refugee applicants.”

“This indictment sends a strong message: the Diplomatic Security Service is committed to making sure that those who are alleged to have stolen U.S. government records related to refugee admissions face consequences for their criminal actions,” said DSS Assistant Director for Domestic Operations Ricardo Colón. “This case demonstrates the collaborative efforts of our law enforcement partners, and showcases the forensic and investigative capabilities of DSS.”

“Individuals like Ms. Krasilova and Mr. Sad are entrusted to protect the integrity of the U.S. immigration system and sensitive information vital to our national security interests,” said Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Dr. Joseph V. Cuffari.  “The Office of Inspector General remains committed to aggressively investigating DHS employees who abuse their positions, betray the public trust, and conspire with persons such as Mr. Abduljabbar to defraud the United States.”

The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.  The maximum penalty for conspiracy to commit an offense or defraud the United States is five years; the maximum penalty for theft of government records is 10 years; the maximum penalty for conspiracy to launder money is 20 years; and the maximum penalty for the charged computer fraud and abuse is five years.  The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes.  If convicted of any offense, a defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

This case is being investigated jointly by the DHS Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Luke M. Jones and Erik M. Kenerson of the National Security Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.  The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs assisted.

###

DHS Office of the Inspector General, www.oig.dhs.gov

Criminal Investigations MGMT

DHS OIG to Review DHS Roles and Responsibilities in Connection with the January 6, 2021 Events at the U.S. Capitol

DHS OIG to Review DHS Roles and Responsibilities in Connection with the January 6, 2021 Events at the U.S. Capitol For Information Contact

Public Affairs (202) 981-6000

adrian.edwards Fri, 01/15/2021 - 09:31

For Immediate Release

Friday, January 15, 2021 Download PDF (166.03 KB)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) is initiating a review to examine the role and activity of DHS and its components in preparing for and responding to the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.  The DHS OIG will coordinate its review with the Offices of Inspector General of the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, and the Department of the Interior, each of which will initiate reviews of their respective agencies’ roles in these events. 

DHS OIG’s review will examine the DHS Office of Intelligence & Analysis’s (I&A) responsibility for providing intelligence to law enforcement, and whether and how I&A fulfilled its responsibility.  DHS OIG also anticipates reviewing DHS law enforcement components’ roles, responsibilities, and actions on January 6, 2021.  DHS OIG will consider examining other issues that may arise during the course of our review, as appropriate.

###

DHS Office of the Inspector General, www.oig.dhs.gov

MGMT Management

DHS OIG Substantiates Whistleblower Retaliation Allegation against a U.S. Coast Guard Member in Violation of the Military Whistleblower Protection Act

DHS OIG Substantiates Whistleblower Retaliation Allegation against a U.S. Coast Guard Member in Violation of the Military Whistleblower Protection Act For Information Contact

Public Affairs (202) 981-6000

adrian.edwards Thu, 12/17/2020 - 10:09

For Immediate Release

Thursday, December 17, 2020 Download PDF (141.9 KB)

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) investigated allegations that a U.S. Coast Guard member was retaliated against for making protected communications under the Military Whistleblower Protect Act, 10 U.S.C. § 1034.

The investigation found that the member made a protected communication and that several personnel actions were taken against the member after the member made the protected communication, including a negative performance evaluation that did not include a recommendation for advancement.  

DHS OIG found that the member’s supervisors expressed animosity against the member and others for their involvement in the making of the protected communication, which resulted in an internal investigation.  DHS OIG also determined that during the member’s counseling session regarding the performance evaluation, the member’s immediate supervisor criticized the member for making the protected communication and accused the member of having “jumped the chain of command.” 

DHS OIG found, based on a preponderance of the evidence, that the member would not have received a negative performance evaluation, nor suffered other personnel actions, in the absence of the member’s protected communication. 

DHS OIG provided its report of investigation to the Acting Secretary for appropriate action under the Military Whistleblower Protection Act.

###

DHS Office of the Inspector General, www.oig.dhs.gov

USCG Management

DHS OIG Substantiates Whistleblower Retaliation Allegation against a U.S. Coast Guard Member in Violation of the Military Whistleblower Protection Act

DHS OIG Substantiates Whistleblower Retaliation Allegation against a U.S. Coast Guard Member in Violation of the Military Whistleblower Protection Act For Information Contact

Public Affairs (202) 981-6000

adrian.edwards Thu, 12/17/2020 - 08:58

For Immediate Release

Thursday, December 17, 2020 Download PDF (141.9 KB)

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) investigated allegations that a U.S. Coast Guard member was retaliated against for making protected communications under the Military Whistleblower Protect Act, 10 U.S.C. § 1034.

The investigation found that the member made a protected communication and that several personnel actions were taken against the member after the member made the protected communication, including a negative performance evaluation that did not include a recommendation for advancement.  

DHS OIG found that the member’s supervisors expressed animosity against the member and others for their involvement in the making of the protected communication, which resulted in an internal investigation.  DHS OIG also determined that during the member’s counseling session regarding the performance evaluation, the member’s immediate supervisor criticized the member for making the protected communication and accused the member of having “jumped the chain of command.” 

DHS OIG found, based on a preponderance of the evidence, that the member would not have received a negative performance evaluation, nor suffered other personnel actions, in the absence of the member’s protected communication. 

DHS OIG provided its report of investigation to the Acting Secretary for appropriate action under the Military Whistleblower Protection Act.

###

DHS Office of the Inspector General, www.oig.dhs.gov

USCG Management

DHS OIG Employees Honored by Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency

DHS OIG Employees Honored by Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency For Information Contact

Public Affairs (202) 981-6000

adrian.edwards Tue, 10/13/2020 - 13:05

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, October 13, 2020 Download PDF (303.66 KB)

This year, two Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) teams were recognized for their outstanding achievements at the annual awards ceremony held by the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) on October 13, 2020.  

DHS OIG employees received the following awards: 

  • Award for Excellence, Audit – Limitations of CBP OFO’s Screening Device Used to Identify Fentanyl and Other Narcotics Audit Team.  
    • In recognition of outstanding efforts that identified significant limitations in drug identification equipment deployed to U.S. Customs and Border Protection ports of entry.
    • OIG Report: Limitations of CBP OFO’s Screening Device Used to Identify Fentanyl and Other Narcotics OIG-19-67. 
  • Award for Excellence, Audit – Criminal Alien Program Audit Team
    • In recognition of outstanding achievement in auditing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Criminal Alien Program and in reporting challenges with safety, resources, research, and information technology systems.
    • OIG Report: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Criminal Alien Program Faces Challenges, OIG-20-13.

“I am tremendously proud that DHS OIG employees, in this year our audit teams, continue to be recognized for their outstanding work by the Inspector General community,” said DHS Inspector General Dr. Joseph Cuffari.  “DHS OIG remains committed to ensuring the integrity and effectiveness of DHS programs and operations.” 

###

DHS Office of the Inspector General, www.oig.dhs.gov

MGMT Management

DHS OIG Commemorates National Whistleblower Appreciation Day

DHS OIG Commemorates National Whistleblower Appreciation Day For Information Contact

Public Affairs (202) 981-6000

adrian.edwards Thu, 07/30/2020 - 09:53

For Immediate Release

Thursday, July 30, 2020 Download PDF (161.72 KB)

Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of Inspector General
(OIG) joins numerous Federal agencies to commemorate National
Whistleblower Appreciation Day. The day honors and supports whistleblowers
who step forward in truth, to create a more honest and accountable
government.

DHS OIG relies on whistleblowers who come forward to report waste, fraud,
abuse of agency resources, and criminal activity. DHS OIG also has a
Whistleblower Protection Coordinator, who plays an important role as a
resource for employees who need to understand the protections and rights
afforded them when they report allegations of waste, fraud, or abuse.

“Whistleblowers are a critical component of maintaining the integrity of our
democracy,” said Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari. “Today we celebrate
those that have raised their voices to help ensure accountability and
transparency in DHS programs and operations.”

Individuals who are aware of fraud, waste, abuse or mismanagement of DHS
resources are encouraged to contact the OIG Hotline through our website or by
calling (800) 323-8603. Whistleblowers can choose to remain anonymous
when reporting to the OIG and the OIG Whistleblower Protection Coordinator is
always available to provide general information to DHS employees and
contractors on whistleblower rights and protections.

For more information visit our website, www.oig.dhs.gov

###

DHS Office of the Inspector General, www.oig.dhs.gov

MGMT Management

Additional IG Designated as Members of CIGIE’s Pandemic Response Accountability Committee

Additional IG Designated as Members of CIGIE’s Pandemic Response Accountability Committee For Information Contact

Public Affairs (202) 254-4100

adrian.edwards Wed, 04/01/2020 - 17:38

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, April 1, 2020 Download PDF (185.17 KB)

IGs to Join Committee Coordinating Oversight of Federal Funds Used for Coronavirus Response

Michael E. Horowitz, Chair of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency 
(CIGIE), and Glenn A. Fine, Chair of CIGIE’s Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC), 
announced today additional Inspectors General (IG) to serve as members of the PRAC. The new members 
are:

•   Mitchell L. Behm, Acting Inspector General, Department of Transportation
•   Mark Bialek, Inspector General, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
•   Kathy A. Buller, Inspector General, Peace Corps
•   Rae Oliver Davis, Inspector General, Department of Housing and Urban Development
•   Phyllis K. Fong, Inspector General, Department of Agriculture
•   Susan S. Gibson, Inspector General, National Reconnaissance Office
•   Allison C. Lerner, Inspector General, National Science Foundation
•   Jay N. Lerner, Inspector General, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
•   Paul K. Martin, Inspector General, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
•   Michael J. Missal, Inspector General, Department of Veterans Affairs
•   Tammy L. Whitcomb, Inspector General, U.S. Postal Service
•   Special Inspector General for Pandemic Oversight (when nominated by the President and confirmed 
by the Senate)

In addition, Inspector General Martin was named as the Committee’s Vice Chair. Mr. Martin has 
served as Inspector General at NASA for the past 10 years and prior to that served at the 
Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General for 12 years, the last 7 as Deputy Inspector 
General.

These Inspectors General, who were designated as members of the PRAC pursuant to Section 15010 of 
the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”), oversee agencies that will 
disburse funds made available under the CARES Act or are otherwise involved in the Coronavirus 
response.

Today’s designated Inspectors General join the PRAC alongside Mr. Fine and 8 other Inspectors
General specifically identified as PRAC members by the CARES Act:

•   Sandra D. Bruce, Acting Inspector General, Department of Education
•   Joseph V. Cuffari, Inspector General, Department of Homeland Security
•   Scott S. Dahl, Inspector General, Department of Labor
•   Richard K. Delmar, Acting Inspector General, Department of the Treasury
•   J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
•   Christi A. Grimm, Acting Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services
•   Michael E. Horowitz, Inspector General, Department of Justice
•   Hannibal “Mike” Ware, Inspector General, Small Business Administration

Consistent with the CARES Act, all Inspectors General serving on the Committee will continue to 
perform their Inspector General duties.

“This additional group of Inspectors General brings a wide range of expertise to the Committee. 
Working closely with all 75 Federal Inspectors General, the Committee will seek to ensure that the 
funds intended to support individuals, workers, healthcare professionals, businesses and others 
affected by the pandemic are used efficiently, effectively, and in accordance with the law,” said 
PRAC Chair Fine.

The CARES Act provides over $2 trillion in emergency federal spending to address the economic 
impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, and establishes the PRAC and several other oversight 
mechanisms to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse in the use of these funds.

The PRAC will promote transparency and support independent oversight of the funds provided by the 
CARES Act and two prior emergency spending bills, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response 
Supplemental Appropriations Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. In addition to its 
oversight responsibilities, the PRAC is tasked with supporting efforts to “prevent and detect 
fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement [and] mitigate major risks that cut across program and 
agency boundaries.”

###

CIGIE is an independent entity established within the executive branch by the Inspector General Act 
and includes 75 statutorily created federal Inspectors General. Its mission is to address 
integrity, economy, and effectiveness issues that transcend individual government agencies and to 
aid in the establishment of a well-trained and highly skilled workforce in the Offices of the 
Inspectors General. For more information about CIGIE and the Inspector General community, please 
visit https://www.ignet.gov/. To find and read reports from the federal Ins  ectors
General, please visit https://oversight.gov and follow @OversightGov on Twitter.

If you have additional questions, please contact:

Dwrena Allen
DOD OIG Spokesperson
dwrena.allen@dodig.mil

Stephanie Logan
DOJ OIG/CIGIE Spokesperson
Stephanie.logan@usdoj.gov

Alan Boehm
CIGIE Executive Director
alan.boehm@cigie.gov

###

DHS Office of the Inspector General, www.oig.dhs.gov

Disaster Response MGMT Management

Former AIG for DHS Indicted on Theft of Government Property and Scheme to Defraud the United States Government

Former AIG for DHS Indicted on Theft of Government Property and Scheme to Defraud the United States Government For Information Contact

Public Affairs (202) 254-4100

adrian.edwards Mon, 03/09/2020 - 15:40

For Immediate Release

Monday, March 9, 2020 Download PDF (84.94 KB)

A federal grand jury in the District of Columbia returned a 16-count indictment against a former Acting Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and a former subordinate for their alleged theft of proprietary software and confidential databases from the U.S. government as part of a scheme to defraud the U.S. government.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Shea for the District of Columbia, DHS Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari and Inspector General Tammy L. Whitcomb for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) made the announcement.

The indictment charges Charles K. Edwards, 59, of Sandy Spring, Maryland, and Murali Yamazula Venkata, 54, of Aldie, Virginia, with conspiracy to commit theft of government property and to defraud the United States, theft of government property, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.  The indictment also charges Venkata with destruction of records.

According to the allegations in the indictment, from October 2014 to April 2017, Edwards, Venkata, and others executed a scheme to defraud the U.S. government by stealing confidential and proprietary software from DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG), along with sensitive government databases containing personal identifying information (PII) of DHS and USPS employees, so that Edwards’s company, Delta Business Solutions, could later sell an enhanced version of DHS-OIG’s software to the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Agriculture at a profit.  Although Edwards had left DHS-OIG in December 2013, he continued to leverage his relationship with Venkata and other DHS-OIG employees to steal the software and the sensitive government databases.

The indictment further alleges that, in addition to stealing DHS-OIG’s software and the sensitive government databases, Venkata and others also assisted Edwards by reconfiguring his laptop so that he could properly upload the stolen software and databases, provided troubleshooting support whenever Edwards required it, and helped him build a testing server at his residence with the stolen software and databases, which contained PII.  As further part of the alleged scheme, Edwards retained software developers in India for the purpose of developing his commercial alternative of DHS-OIG’s software.

The indictment is the result of an ongoing investigation by DHS-OIG and USPS-OIG and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Victor R. Salgado of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney David B. Kent of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

###

DHS Office of the Inspector General, www.oig.dhs.gov

Criminal Investigations MGMT Cybersecurity

DHS OIG Participates in National “Slam the Scam” day

DHS OIG Participates in National “Slam the Scam” day For Information Contact

Public Affairs (202) 981-6000

adrian.edwards Wed, 03/04/2020 - 15:42

For Immediate Release

Thursday, March 5, 2020 Download PDF (159.37 KB)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) joins the Social Security Administration (SSA) OIG and other Federal agencies on March 5, 2020 for National “Slam the Scam” Day, to raise public awareness of government imposter telephone scams across the United States.

SSA OIG is engaging other Federal agencies and the private sector to promote a National “Slam the Scam Day” as a National Consumer Protection Week initiative.  On March 5, SSA will participate in a USA.gov-hosted Twitter chat, and a Facebook Live event at Social Security.

Both DHS OIG and SSA OIG would like to warn all Americans to hang up on all government imposters, and ask them to spread the word to family and friends.  These pervasive scams—in which callers pretend to be government employees to mislead victims into providing personal information or making payments—have become a scourge on the American public.  The Federal Trade Commission recently reported victims lost nearly $153 million to government imposter scams last year.

DHS telephone numbers have been used in the past as part of a telephone spoofing scam targeting individuals throughout the country.  Spoofing is the deliberate falsifying of information transmitted to a caller ID display to disguise an identity.  The perpetrators of the DHS-related scam represent themselves as employees with “U.S. Immigration” or other government entities.  They alter caller ID systems to make it appear that the call is coming from the DHS HQ Operator number (202-282-8000) or the DHS Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) number (202-401-1474).  The scammers obtain or verify personally identifiable information from their victims through various tactics, including by telling individuals that they are the victims of identity theft.  The scammers also pose as law enforcement or immigration officials and threaten victims with arrest unless they make payments to the scammers using a variety of methods.  The scammers have also emailed victims from email addresses ending in “uscis.org.”  Many of the scammers reportedly have pronounced accents.

As a reminder, DHS never uses its HQ Operator or CRCL number to make outgoing calls of this nature. Individuals receiving phone calls from these numbers should not provide any personal information.  It continues to be perfectly safe to place calls to the DHS HQ Operator and CRCL numbers and DHS officials may continue to be contacted by dialing the DHS HQ Operator number.

DHS OIG takes these matters very seriously.  Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of this telephone spoofing scam is urged to call the DHS OIG Hotline (1-800-323-8603) or file a complaint online via the DHS OIG website www.oig.dhs.gov.  You may also contact the Federal Trade Commission to file a complaint and/or report identity theft

For more information regarding SSA OIG’s National “Slam the Scam” day activity you can visit SSA OIG

For more information visit our website, www.oig.dhs.gov

###

DHS Office of the Inspector General, www.oig.dhs.gov

False Claims Act Investigations MGMT Counterterrorism

DHS OIG Completes Investigation of the Death of Seven-Year-Old Guatemalan Child

DHS OIG Completes Investigation of the Death of Seven-Year-Old Guatemalan Child For Information Contact

Public Affairs (202) 254-4100

adrian.edwards Fri, 12/20/2019 - 12:34

For Immediate Release

Friday, December 20, 2019 Download PDF (158.54 KB)

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently completed an investigation into the death of a Guatemalan child who died in U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) custody.  

The investigation found no misconduct or malfeasance by DHS personnel:

•    On December 6, 2018, a 7-year-old child and her father were apprehended in Antelope Wells, New Mexico.  
•    On December 7, 2018, during transport from Antelope Wells to another USBP facility 90 miles away in Lordsburg, New Mexico, the child’s father reported that she was ill with a fever and vomiting.  The child also started having seizures.  
•    When the child arrived at the USBP station in Lordsburg, USBP Emergency Medical Technicians initiated medical care and flew the child to the hospital by commercial air ambulance.  
•    USBP personnel drove the father to the hospital.
•    The child was pronounced dead at the hospital the next day. 
•    OIG conducted a detailed investigation and coordinated with the local medical examiner’s office.  
•    The state medical examiner’s autopsy report found the child died of natural causes due to sequelae of Streptococcal sepsis.

###

DHS Office of the Inspector General, www.oig.dhs.gov

Border Security CBP Border Security

DHS OIG Completes Investigation of the Death of Eight-Year-Old Guatemalan Child

DHS OIG Completes Investigation of the Death of Eight-Year-Old Guatemalan Child For Information Contact

Public Affairs (202) 254-4100

adrian.edwards Fri, 12/20/2019 - 12:18

For Immediate Release

Friday, December 20, 2019 Download PDF (159.39 KB)

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently completed an investigation into the death of a Guatemalan child who died in U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) custody.  

The investigation found no misconduct or malfeasance by DHS personnel:

•    On December 18, 2018, an 8-year-old child and his father were apprehended near El Paso, Texas.  
•    On December 23, 2018, they were transported to the Alamogordo, New Mexico USBP Checkpoint to await family placement.
•    On December 24, 2018, a USBP agent noticed that the child appeared ill and interviewed the father, who requested medical treatment for his son.  
•    USBP transported the child and the child’s father to the nearest hospital for evaluation and treatment.  
•    The hospital staff diagnosed the child with an upper respiratory infection, prescribed amoxicillin and acetaminophen, and discharged the child, who was returned to the USBP facility.
•    USBP personnel obtained and administered the prescriptions to the child.
•    The child’s condition improved briefly, and subsequently worsened.
•    USBP again transported the child and father to the hospital; upon arrival, the child was unresponsive and pronounced dead.
•    OIG conducted a detailed investigation and coordinated with the local medical examiner’s office.  
•    The state medical examiner's autopsy report found the child died from sepsis caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.  

###

DHS Office of the Inspector General, www.oig.dhs.gov

Border Security CBP Border Security

DHS OIG Employees Honored for Contribution to Inspector General Community

DHS OIG Employees Honored for Contribution to Inspector General Community

For Information Contact

Public Affairs (202) 981-6000

adrian.edwards Tue, 10/22/2019 - 10:48

For Immediate Release

Friday, October 18, 2019 Download PDF (158.21 KB)

This year, seven Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) employees were recognized by the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) at the 2019 CIGIE Adjunct Instructor Recognition Ceremony.  The following employees were recognized for their contributions as adjunct faculty for CIGIE courses:

Kevin Dolloson

Eric Gregory

K.R. Healey

Erika Lang

Andrew Smith

Robert M. Vanderbles

William Yeager

“I am very proud of our staff who shared their knowledge and experience with colleagues from across the Inspector General community this year,” said DHS Inspector General Dr. Joseph Cuffari. “Their service helps CIGIE achieve its mission of increasing the professionalism and effectiveness of the federal OIGs through a high-performing and skilled workforce.”

###

DHS Office of the Inspector General, www.oig.dhs.gov

DHS OIG Employees Honored for Outstanding Achievements

DHS OIG Employees Honored for Outstanding Achievements

For Information Contact

Public Affairs (202) 981-6000

alan.smith Thu, 10/17/2019 - 13:26

For Immediate Release

Thursday, October 17, 2019 Download PDF (228.22 KB)

This year, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) employees were recognized for their outstanding achievements at the annual awards ceremony held by the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) on October 15, 2019.

DHS OIG employees received the following six awards for their excellence in audit, investigations, and evaluations. Additionally, the agency received the Gaston L. Gianni, Jr. Better Government Award with colleagues from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

- Award for Excellence, Audit – FEMA Did Not Safeguard Disaster Survivors’ Sensitive Personally Identifiable Information Audit Teams. In recognition of exceptional efforts, which resulted in Management Alert – FEMA Did Not Safeguard Disaster Survivors’ Sensitive Personally Identifiable Information, during audits of the FEMA Transitional Sheltering Assistance program and contract.

- Award for Excellence, Audit – Accenture Hiring Contract. In recognition of the DHS OIG audit team’s outstanding achievements in improving the integrity, efficiency, and effectiveness of CBP hiring operations.

- Award for Excellence, Audit – Border Patrol Needs a Staffing Model to Better Plan for Hiring More Agents. In recognition of audit team’s exemplary service and commendable effort in auditing the Border Patrol’s workforce staffing model, which led to proposed legislation requiring CBP to develop and implement models to enhance workforce effectiveness.

- Award for Excellence, Investigation – Investigation of the New York City Department of Transportation. In recognition of the multi-agency investigative team, consisting of the DHS OIG; the United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York; and the New York City Department of Investigation, which resulted in the recovery of $8,500,000 in Federal funds.

- Award for Excellence, Evaluations – DHS OIG Family Separations Team. In recognition of report, Initial Observations Regarding Family Separation Issues Under the Zero Tolerance Policy.

- Award for Excellence, Evaluations – ICE Does Not Fully Use Contracting Tools to Hold Detention Facility Contractors Accountable for Failing to Meet Performance Standards. In recognition of the team’s exceptional efforts to identify and address challenges in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s ability to hold detention facility contractors accountable for failing to meet detention standards.

- Gaston L. Gianni, Jr. Better Government Award – Operation Outsource. In recognition of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, and Homeland Security Investigations for their efforts in combating impersonation-related fraud schemes.

“I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of our colleagues who were recognized,” said DHS Inspector General Dr. Joseph Cuffari. “Their commitment to ensuring the integrity of DHS programs and operations provides assurance to all Americans that the agency is able to safeguard the American people, our homeland and our values.”

###

DHS Office of the Inspector General, www.oig.dhs.gov

Pages