A former civilian Defense Department employee pled guilty last week to collecting more than $2.2 million in fraudulent federal healthcare claims, a Sept. 8 Justice Department statement says. Jonathan Hargett, who was living in Germany, was indicted in October 2013 and extradited in July for trial, the statement says. Hargett will be sentenced Nov. 18 and faces a likely prison term of 46 to 57 months and a fine between $10,000 and $100,000.
Watchdogs from several agencies told a House panel their independence is threated by agencies refusing to turn over documents and finding ways to circumvent handing them over. Inspectors General from the Justice Department, Peace Corps and Environmental Protection Agency spoke out against losing their independence to agencies who use statutory or legal authority to keep documents out of the IGs' hands.
Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker on Sept. 4 named four new state and local officials and experts and reappointed one to the congressionally mandated board overseeing the development of a high-speed, nationwide wireless network for public safety agencies.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction called on agencies to be more cooperative and transparent when handing over records during investigations, piggybacking on a recent letter from 47 IGs to House and Senate government oversight committees.
The former acting cybersecurity head of the Health and Human Services Department is facing sentencing after being convicted Aug. 26 by a federal jury on child pornography charges, the Justice Department said.
Countering domestic terrorism appears to have become a top priority again at the Justice Department, according to a brief from the Congressional Research Service.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have come out in support of agency inspectors general who claimed insufficient access to records during investigations. In an Aug. 8 letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan, House lawmakers said inspectors general should, in most cases, have no problem accessing agency records during an investigation and that OMB needs to make sure agencies enforce the 1978 Inspector General Act.
Nearly 50 inspectors general have signed a letter to congressional oversight committees, pointing out that recent restrictions in accessing records at three agencies could jeopardize the work and authority of every federal IG.
Hewlett-Packard agreed to pay $32.5 million to the Postal Service to resolve allegations that the company overcharged USPS for products over 9 years. The Justice Department says HP violated the False Claims Act--the federal law holds accountable contractors who defraud governmental programs--by overcharging USPS between October 2001 and December 2010.
The Justice Department said July 22 that it has intervened in a whistleblower lawsuit against Symantec Corp., alleging the company "knowingly" submitted false claims on a General Services Administration software contract that involved hundreds of millions of dollars.