There was troubling news concerning background checks recently. Prosecutors are filing charges against a security company, accusing the company of completing fake background checks in order to scam the government out of millions of dollars.
U.S. Investigations Services is accused of using a computer program to dump background checks, even though they were labeled as completed. Prosecutors say the company did not carry out quality reviews as required by the government contract. Prosecutors also say the phony background check scheme involved at least 665,000 background investigations. That represents about 40% of the total number of background checks conducted by the company.
U.S. Investigations Services received nearly $12 million in bonus payments over a three-year span. Prosecutors say those bonus payments would not have been made if the U.S. Office of Personnel Management had known about the alleged fraud activity.
U.S. Investigations Services is facing charges of false or fraudulent claims, false statement and breach of contract. Other filings in the case remain sealed.
A spokesperson for U.S. Investigations Services says the allegations “relate to a small group of individuals over a specific time period”. The company says it learned of the allegations two years ago and has since appointed a new leadership team, installed new oversight procedures and improved control protocols.
It’s certainly troubling to learn that thousands of background checks were likely never done or never completed. It should be noted the U.S. Investigations Services is the company charged with vetting former spy agency contractor.
We know that background checks and pre-employment screenings are very important steps in the hiring process. Conducting background checks on potential employees can prevent negligent hiring lawsuits and provider a safer work environment.
No one wants to think that scheduled or required background checks are not being proposed or are just a sham, especially when the background checks are being done on such a widespread level. It will be interesting to see if we learn more about this story in the weeks and months ahead.