Former Background Investigator for Federal Government Pleads Guilty to Making a False Statement
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
WASHINGTON – Lucia Rose DiEmidio, 28, a former background investigator who did work under contract 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 Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips.
DiEmidio, of Bohemia, New York, pled guilty in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to making a false statement. The Honorable Trevor N. McFadden scheduled sentencing for June 1, 2021. The charge carries a statutory penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
According to the government’s evidence, DiEmidio was employed by a private contractor that had a contract to supply background investigations on behalf of OPM’s Federal Investigative Services, which subsequently became known as OPM’s National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB). DiEmidio admitted that, between approximately March 2017 and August 2017, she submitted Reports of Investigation for background investigations in which she falsely represented, about 26 times, that she had interviewed a source or reviewed a record regarding the subject of the background investigation. In fact, DiEmidio had not conducted the interviews or obtained the records of interest. These reports were utilized and relied upon by the agencies requesting the background investigations to determine whether the subjects were suitable for positions having access to classified information, for positions impacting national security, for receiving or retaining security clearances, or for positions of public trust.
On October 1, 2019, the functions and personnel of National Background Investigations Bureau were transferred to the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA). DeEmidio’s conduct occurred prior to the transition and while conducting work on behalf of OPM.
The false representations by DiEmidio have required OPM and DCSA 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 $86,562 to the federal government.
OPM’s Federal Investigative Services and National Background Investigations Bureau had 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.
This is one of numerous cases prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia since 2008 involving false representations by background investigators and record checkers working on federal background investigations. In addition to DiEmidio, more than 30 other background investigators have been convicted of charges.
In announcing the plea, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillips commended the efforts of Special Agent Christopher J. Sulhoff, Office of the Inspector General, OPM; and Dale A. Walker, Office of the Inspector General, Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency. He also acknowledged the work of those who handled the case at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Angeline Thekkumthala, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Rothstein, and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Bianca Forde, who investigated and prosecuted the matter.
Updated March 16, 2021
Press Release Number: 21-036