Skip to main content
Press Release

Former Federal Investigator Convicted and Sentenced for Fabricating Dozens of Background Check Interviews he Never Conducted

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS- Christopher B. Laughlin, 37, of Whiteland, Indiana, has been sentenced to one year of federal probation and must pay restitution in the amount of $69,846.44 after pleading guilty to making false statements in the course of his government employment.

Federal employees, contractors, and military members must undergo a background investigation to determine their suitability for serving in a position of trust and obtaining any required security clearance. The extent of the investigation will depend on the type of job and the degree of harm the person in that job could cause. Background investigators conduct interviews, review documents, and record the information they find in reports of investigation. Federal agencies rely on these reports to determine suitability of subjects for sensitive positions and security clearance.

The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) is responsible for conducting background investigations of certain individuals who are either employed by or seeking employment with federal agencies or government contractors. DCSA utilizes a variety of internal controls to verify the work of investigators and help ensure the integrity of its investigations.

According to court documents, Christopher Laughlin began working at the United States Office of Personnel Management as a federal background investigator in May of 2018. His position was transferred to DCSA on September 30, 2019.

On August 2, 2021, as part of DCSA’s internal control process, an individual reported that Laughlin never interviewed them, contrary to Laughlin’s statements in an investigation report. DCSA investigated and identified three other sources Laughlin claimed to have interviewed in the same investigation who all stated they’d never been interviewed. DCSA’s Office of the Inspector General then initiated a formal investigation into Laughlin’s conduct.

Investigators determined that between February 18 and September 1, 2021, Laughlin submitted at least 22 false reports containing fabricated statements from at least 43 interviews that never actually happened. The reports included statements that the sources purportedly made to Laughlin by people he never spoke with. DCSA spent $69.846.214 in payroll and travel to conduct the investigations that Laughlin fabricated.

“The safety and security of our country depends on the trustworthiness and integrity of federal employees and contractors,” said Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “This defendant’s decision to falsify reports and fabricate statements compromised the integrity of these important investigations, and increased the risk that unsuitable individuals are put in positions that could compromise our government and our national security. I commend DCSA OIG, DCIS, and our federal prosecutor for their commitment to protect the public and hold officials accountable for criminal violations of their oaths to serve and protect the public.”

“Compromising the integrity of the security clearance process puts our country’s most sensitive information at unnecessary risk,” said Darrin K. Jones, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Southeast Field Office. “DCIS, along with our investigative partners, will continue to aggressively pursue bad actors whose actions threaten to undermine the public’s trust.”

The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency, Office of Inspector General and Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service investigated this case. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young.

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney James Warden, who prosecuted this case.


Updated June 20, 2024