Former Background Investigator for Federal Government Pleads Guilty to Making a False Statement
WASHINGTON – Jeffrey S. Kahn, 51, 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 his falsification of work on background investigations of federal employees and contractors, announced U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu and Norbert E. Vint, Acting Inspector General for the Office of Personnel Management.
Kahn, of Saratoga Springs, Utah, pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to making a false statement. The Honorable Ketanji Brown Jackson scheduled sentencing for Aug. 16, 2018. 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 plea, Kahn has agreed to pay $77,649 in restitution to the federal government.
According to a statement of offense submitted to the Court, Kahn was employed by KeyPoint Government Solutions as an investigator under contract to conduct background investigations on behalf of OPM’s Federal Investigative Services, which now is known as OPM’s National Background Investigations Bureau. All of the criminal conduct in this case took place while Kahn worked under contract on behalf of Federal Investigative Services.
Between May 2013 and August 2013, in more than 18 Reports of Investigations on background investigations, Kahn represented that he had interviewed a source or reviewed a record regarding the subject of the background investigation. In fact, he 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.
Kahn’s false representations have required OPM to reopen and rework numerous background investigations that were assigned to him during the time period of his falsifications, at an estimated cost of at least $77,649 to the U.S. government.
OPM 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.
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 Kahn, 23 other background investigators and two record checkers have been convicted of charges.
With a staff of more than 9,900 federal and contract employees, the National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB) conducts approximately 95 percent of all personnel background investigations for the federal government. NBIB processed over 2.5 million background investigations in the 2017 fiscal year.
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 Liu and Acting Inspector General Vint praised the efforts of Special Agent Christopher J. Sulhoff, OPM, Office of the Inspector General, and Philip Kroop and Kevin Cassidy, OPM, NBIB. They also acknowledged the work of Paralegal Specialists Aisha Keys and Joshua Fein of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Ellen Chubin Epstein, who investigated and prosecuted this matter.