FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
For Information Contact:
Former Background Investigator For Federal Government
Pleads Guilty to Making a False Statement
WASHINGTON - Kim H. Ocasio, 49, a former background investigator for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), pled guilty today to a charge stemming from her falsification of work on background investigations of federal employees and contractors, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and Patrick E. McFarland, Inspector General for the Office of Personnel Management.
Ocasio, of Indianapolis, Ind., pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a charge of making a false statement. The Honorable James E. Boasberg scheduled sentencing for August 30, 2012. The charge carries a statutory penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. As part of the guilty plea, Ocasio has agreed to pay $10,000 in restitution to the federal government.
According to a statement of offense submitted to the Court, Ocasio was employed by OPM as a Special Agent. She was assigned to the Federal Investigative Services Division, now known as Federal Investigative Services, where she was to conduct background investigations.
Between October 2011 and February 2012, in at least four Reports of Investigations on background investigations, Ocasio represented that she had reviewed a record regarding the subject of the background investigation when, in fact, she had not obtained the record. These reports were utilized and relied upon by the agencies requesting the background investigations to determine whether the subjects were suitable for positions involving access to classified information.
Federal Investigative Services has a robust integrity assurance program which utilizes a variety of methods to ensure the accuracy of reported information. The falsification of investigative case work by the defendant was detected through the program.
Ocasio’s false representations have required Federal Investigative Services to reopen and rework numerous background investigations that were assigned to her during the time period of her falsifications, at an estimated cost of at least $10,000 to the U.S. government. Under the plea agreement, the restitution in this case will be paid to Federal Investigative Services.
This is one of several cases prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia in the last three years involving false representations by background investigators and record checkers working on federal background investigations. In addition to Ocasio, 11 other background investigators and two record checkers have been convicted of charges.
Federal Investigative Services, formerly known as the Center for Federal Investigative Services or the Federal Investigative Services Division, through its workforce of approximately 7,300 investigators, is responsible for conducting background investigations for numerous federal agencies and their contractors, on individuals either employed by or seeking employment with those agencies or contractors. Federal Investigative Services conducted more than 2.1 million investigations during the 2011 fiscal year. More than 750,000 of these investigations involved applicants for access or continued access to classified information.
In performing background investigations, the investigators conduct interviews of individuals who have information about the person who is the subject of the review. In addition, the investigators seek out, obtain, and review documentary evidence, such as employment records, to verify and corroborate information provided by either the subject of the background investigation or by persons interviewed during the investigation. After conducting interviews and obtaining documentary evidence, the investigators prepare a Report of Investigation containing the results of the interviews and document reviews, and electronically submit the material to OPM in Washington, D.C. OPM then provides a copy of the investigative file to the requesting agency, which can use the information to determine an individual’s eligibility for employment or a security clearance.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Machen and Inspector General McFarland praised the efforts of Special Agent Nunzio Orlando, OPM, Office of the Inspector General, and Special Agent David Newcomer, OPM-Federal Investigative Services. Mr. Machen and Mr. McFarland also acknowledged the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ellen Chubin Epstein and Mary Chris Dobbie, who investigated and prosecuted this matter.