Government accuses national firm's Butler office of submitting bills for incomplete background checks

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Butler County residents who are former employees of a national firm that does federal background checks bilked the government out of millions of dollars by billing for incomplete work, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

The department filed a complaint this week in an Alabama court against U.S. Investigations Services, claiming the company engaged in a practice called “dumping” in which it failed to perform quality-control reviews on more than a half-million background investigations as a contractor for the Office of Personnel Management.

U.S. Investigations does about 45 percent of all government background checks and last year brought in about $195 million.

The alleged fraud was first revealed in a federal whistle-blower lawsuit filed in 2011 in Alabama by Blake Percival, a former employee who said the company, in an effort to maximize profits, used a software program to automatically send background investigations to OPM even though they hadn’t been finished. The Justice Department joined the suit and is seeking triple damages against the company.

According to the complaint, the fraud was carried out by eight managers, none of them named, and the actual “dumping” occurred at the Butler County office.

U.S. Investigations Services said that all those managers are gone.

“We appointed a new leadership team, enhanced oversight procedures, and improved control protocols,” the company said in a statement. “From the outset, we have fully cooperated with the government’s investigation and remain focused on delivering the highest quality service under our OPM contracts.”

Torsten Ove: or 412-263-1510.

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