|The USMS is responsible for protecting more than 2,000 federal judges and other members of the federal judiciary; arresting federal, state, and local fugitives; protecting federal witnesses; transporting federal prisoners; managing assets seized from criminal enterprises; and responding to special assignments. The Director and Deputy Director work with 94 U.S. marshals to direct the work of approximately 4,800 employees at more than 350 locations throughout the 50 states, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Mexico, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic.|
During this reporting period, the OIG received 173 complaints involving the USMS. The most common allegations made against USMS employees were official misconduct; job performance failure; and force, abuse, and civil rights violations. The OIG opened seven investigations and referred other allegations to the USMS’s Office of Internal Affairs for review.
At the close of the reporting period, the OIG had 22 open cases of alleged misconduct against USMS employees. The following are examples of cases involving the USMS that the OIG’s Investigations Division handled during this reporting period:
- The OIG investigated allegations that a USMS attorney misused his official position by requesting and using USMS resources while engaging in his personal employment for Fox Sports. Our investigation revealed that when the attorney attended sporting events as a paid, part-time statistician for Fox Sports, he asked for and received transportation in USMS cars driven by deputy U.S. Marshals to and from the games. Such events included the 2007 World Series in Boston, Massachusetts; the 2007 college football championship game and the 2008 Super Bowl, both in Phoenix, Arizona; and a 2008 NFL playoff game in Tampa, Florida. We also found that the USMS attorney inappropriately arranged for Fox broadcasters to be driven by or escorted in a motorcade led by deputy U.S. Marshals.
We concluded that the attorney’s conduct violated the USMS’s standards of ethical conduct for misuse of position and USMS policy on the proper use of government vehicles. In addition, we concluded that the attorney lacked candor when he was interviewed by OIG investigators about these matters. We also found that three U.S. Marshals inappropriately approved the attorney’s requests to use USMS resources for personal business in their districts, while one U.S. Marshall appropriately denied the attorney’s request.
We recommended the USMS take corrective actions to address weaknesses that our investigation disclosed in its internal controls regarding policies on outside employment. The USMS agreed to implement our recommendations.
- An investigation by the OIG’s New York Field Office resulted in the arrest of a deputy U.S. Marshal pursuant to an indictment returned in the District of New Jersey charging him with providing a firearm to a convicted felon. OIG investigators determined that the deputy U.S. Marshal purchased a semi-automatic handgun by certifying on USMS letterhead that it was for “official use” only and would not be transferred to another person. However, the deputy U.S. Marshal gave the weapon to a friend whose past criminal convictions included aggravated assault, robbery, and unlawful possession of a handgun. The friend was arrested for possession of the handgun after police officers recognized him in the parking lot of an adult entertainment club as an individual who had days earlier misrepresented himself as a law enforcement officer. Judicial proceedings continue.
- An investigation by the OIG’s New York Field Office led to the arrest of four USMS contract correctional officers (one of whom was a lieutenant) on charges of excessive force, obstruction of justice, and making a false statement. The OIG investigation led to an indictment returned in the Eastern District of New York alleging that an inmate at the Queens Private Detention Facility (a USMS contract facility) was assaulted after he purportedly made a derogatory remark to one of the correctional officers. According to the indictment, the lieutenant and two of the correctional officers brought the victim to a shower room, ordered the victim to remove his clothes, and repeatedly hit the victim in the neck, causing the inmate’s head to slam against the wall. The lieutenant then ordered the victim to apologize to the correctional officer he insulted and threatened to kill the victim if he reported the assault. The assault was brought to the attention of correctional facility authorities after inmates in the victim’s dorm demanded that he receive medical treatment. Subsequently, three of the correctional officers allegedly conspired to cover up the incident and attempted to prevent two other correctional facility officers, both of whom reported to the lieutenant, from reporting the assault. In addition, the lieutenant and two correctional officers made false statements to law enforcement authorities in an effort to obstruct the government’s investigation. Judicial proceedings continue.
The USMS’s Oversight of Courthouse Security
The OIG is assessing the USMS’s oversight of courthouse security.