No penalty for misuse of federal credit cards

by
May 22, 2010

By Matthew Cella

An investigation that found thousands of dollars in unauthorized purchases of clothing, gold coins, flat-screen televisions, gym memberships and college tuition payments by employees of the Federal Protective Services using government purchase cards has resulted in no disciplinary action.

Twenty-one FPS employees took advantage of an 18-month transition period during which the security agency was moved from the General Services Administration to the Department of Homeland Security “to loot GSA resources by purchasing unauthorized goods,” according to the GSA’s office of inspector general.

Investigative documents obtained by The Washington Times through a Freedom of Information Act request said the California-based FPS employees used the government cards to buy, among other things, $17,000 in suits at Macy’s and the Men’s Wearhouse, $15,000 in gold and silver coins, $60,000 in tuition payments and professional memberships, and $8,000 in gym memberships in 2003 and 2004.

The FPS employees, who are responsible for securing federal buildings, also used expense vouchers to get reimbursements for more than $9,000 in clothing, including an $800 tuxedo.

Investigators said employees with the security force bought the questionable items but concealed them by not entering them into the government computer system known as “Pegasys,” which processes and reconciles financial transactions.

The purchases were the subject of an investigation by the inspector general’s office that spanned five years. In September, investigators closed the case and noted that of the 21 employees involved in making the inappropriate purchases, three resigned and four retired. Five employees faced a possible reprimand and no action had been taken against nine others.

Leslie Paige, a spokeswoman for the nonpartisan Citizens Against Government Waste, said it was appalling that no discipline had been handed down by GSA or Homeland Security.

“These are law-enforcement officers who are engaged in outright theft. This is not complicated,” Ms. Paige said.

To read more, visit: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/may/21/no-penalty-for-misuse-of-federal-credit-cards/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter_must-read-stories-today

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