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US Army: Encyclopedia of Ethical Failures 2007 Full Version

US Army: Encyclopedia of Ethical Failures 2007 Full Version


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Published by: Army on Jan 27, 2008
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Falsification of Time Cards Results in Removal

An employee at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center had a habit of showing up

for work only one week a month. However, her supervisor soon noticed that the

employee’s paycheck did not reflect this erratic schedule. Upon questioning, the

employee admitted to changing the pay codes on her time card after they were signed by

her supervisor.

The employee was allowed to resign, and is indebted to the Government for

$10,383.47. The money will be deducted from her retirement pay.

Pre-signing Employee’s Time Card Results in Counseling

An Air Force Sergeant at the Field Maintenance center pre-signed one of her

subordinate’s time cards before she left for a two-week leave. Unfortunately for her, the

subordinate subsequently changed several of the boxes she had originally marked as

“leave” to “regular flex time,” and then took leave while still drawing regular pay. When

investigators discovered the discrepancy, the subordinate resigned. The trusting Sergeant

earned counseling for failing to comply with DoD Financial Management Regulations,

which stipulate that supervisors must correctly certify time cards at the end of the pay

period in order to prevent employee fraud.

Lying About Overtime Doesn’t Pay!

The Facts: A former employee of the Department of Defense entered overtime

hours he hadn’t worked into a computer time-keeping system. He was caught. He

pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay the Government $7,500 and was sentenced to three

years probation—not the sort of overtime he was looking for. (Source: Federal Ethics

Report, Apr. 2003.)

The Law: 18 U.S.C. § 287 (2003) states that anyone presenting to any “person or

officer in the civil, military, or naval service of the United States, or to any department or

agency thereof” a claim for money from the Federal Government, knowing such claim to

be false, shall be fined and imprisoned for no more than 5 years.


Hung By Wire Fraud

The Facts: A Defense Intelligence Agency secretary in Arlington, Virginia,

improperly obtained access to her time and attendance records on 74 occasions. She used

her access to credit herself with over 4,000 hours of overtime she hadn’t worked. She

was caught and pleaded guilty to wire fraud, for which she was sentenced to twelve

months and one day in prison, to be followed by three years of probation with

participation in Gamblers Anonymous. She also had to pay the Government $91,380 in

restitution. Hopefully, she learned from this bad bet. (Source: Federal Ethics Report,

Apr. 2003.)

The Law: 18 U.S.C. § 1343 (2003) mandates penalties for transmitting “by

means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any

writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds” in order to execute a plan to defraud. The

penalties: Fines, imprisonment of not more than 20 years, or both—unless the fraud

affects a financial institution, in which case the fine is to be of not more than $1 million

and the imprisonment of not more than 30 years.

Falsifying Overtime Can Be a Costly Business

The Facts: A Federal employee at the Pentagon decided to participate in a

scheme that involved logging false overtime hours in an electronic timekeeping system.

The employee pled guilty at trial and was sentenced to three years of probation along

with six months of home confinement, and ordered to pay over $16,000 restitution.

(Source: Federal Ethics Report, March 2003.)

The Law: 18 U.S.C. § 287 (2003) mandates fines and imprisonment for up to 5

years for anyone who presents a claim for money, which the person knows to be

fraudulent, to the “civil, military, or naval service of the United States.”

Improper Time Sheets

Allegations were made that a Department of Defense (DoD) employee was not

working his assigned hours and was fraudulently claiming overtime hours he did not

work. After an investigation, it was determined that the employee was attending college


courses at lunch for approximately two hours and worked late to make up the time. His

time and attendance sheets showed him working his normal hours with no indication of

the long lunch and late hours to accommodate his college courses. The sheets were

submitted without showing the modified schedule because a clerk incorrectly told the

employee’s supervisor that “the system wouldn’t allow variations from a normal

workday.” The employee, the supervisor, and the clerk were all instructed on proper

timekeeping procedures.

INS Grants Administrative Leave as Award for Contributions to CFC

Officials in an Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) district office

rewarded employees who contributed at least $500 to the Combined Federal Campaign

(CFC) with eight hours of administrative leave. After an investigation, it was found that

the employees who were granted and used the leave did not have the leave properly

documented on their time sheets. As the district director did not carry out the violations in

a knowing and willful way and because the employees affected stated they did not feel

coerced, no charges were filed. The director did receive a letter of counseling regarding

her management of the CFC program, however.

VA Physician Time and Attendance Issue

An administrative investigation substantiated that a part-time Department of

Veterans Affairs (VA) physician routinely worked at a non-VA clinic during his VA core

hours and as a result failed to meet his VA tour of duty obligation. The investigation also

revealed that the physician’s supervisor failed to check on him to ensure that he was

working the hours required. In response to the investigator’s recommendation,

administrative action was taken against both the physician and the supervisor. The

physician was charged leave for the hours not worked and was instructed to revise his

hours at the non-VA clinic.

Employees Terminated for Abusing Religious Leave

For a period of several years, two top executives at the Naval Undersea Warfare

Center had an astonishing work record—they took nearly no vacation time at all. The


reason, investigators soon discovered, was that the executives had been taking “religious

compensatory time” instead. Curiously, the executives’ absences seldom fell on any

traditionally-observed religious holidays. Instead, investigators found that the pair’s so-

called religious observances took place on days when they had medical appointments,

sightseeing trips, and golf tournaments. Asked whether golf tournaments could be

considered religious observances, one executive replied, “They could be for some


Unamused, the Inspector General found that the two had made a “premeditated,

conspiratorial effort to defraud the Government,” and forced them into retirement.

Religious compensatory time is available for government employees who need to observe

religious requirements – but even then, it needs to be made up at a later time.

(Source: www.GovExec.com, July 1, 2004)

Use of Sick Leave for Military Tours Earns Employee Dismissal

A reservist’s use of sick leave to account for absences on active-duty military

tours resulted in the end of a 20-year federal career. Over a period of several years, the

reservist accounted for absences from his civilian position at CENTCOM as “sick leave,”

when in fact he was on active-duty military tours. This allowed the employee to bank

annual leave, as well as collect dual salaries from both the civil service and the military.

Given the reservist’s two decades of federal employment, the judge found the reservist’s

pleas of ignorance as to the proper leave procedures unconvincing. The judge also took

into consideration the testimony of the reservist’s commanding officer at CENTCOM,

who testified that his trust in the reservist had been wholly eroded.

As a consequence of the reservist’s abuse of the leave system, his career in the

civil service was terminated.

(Source: 2005 MSRP LEXIS 6041)


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