Eye on the EPA: Unearned Bonuses, Paychecks for Nothing, and Credit Card Abuse
Your Taxpayer Dollars at Work... Or Not
May 30, 2014
Fraud at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is nothing new. John C. Beale, a former high-ranking official at the EPA and fake CIA agent, was convicted for stealing nearly $1 million from American taxpayers. Beale received hundreds of thousands in unearned bonuses and would skip entire days, even weeks and months from the office, while still receiving a full paycheck. While all this is outrageous, it is clear that his crimes were just the tip of the iceberg. EPA's lax internal controls and substandard management allow Agency employees to regularly take advantage of the system and benefit themselves at taxpayer expense. Unfortunately, it is difficult to quantify at this stage the true amount of waste of taxpayer dollars, meaning more oversight is needed. Below are a few examples of blatant misuse of government time and funds:
Paychecks for Not Working
• For over 20 years, an employee claimed to be "working from home," yet produced no work while receiving a full salary. The employee was a GS-13 Step 10, which carries an annual salary of $116,901.
• In the last eight years, eleven EPA employees have received $481,819 in unauthorized bonuses.
Charging EPA Credit Card for Personal Expenses
• In 2012, EPA employees charged $79,254 in prohibited or improper purchases on Agency credit cards. Most egregious examples include $17,235 towards gym memberships for employees and their families, and $8,163 for gift cards. Other examples include charges for dance halls, daycare, and theater and music expenses.
Misuse of Federal Equipment
• In three recent cases, EPA employees were inappropriately using their government-provided computers and laptops to view pornographic materials during work.
• In another case, an employee used his EPA laptop for a family business, and gave his EPA password to family members who used his government laptop at his residence, which goes against Agency safety protocol.
• One GS-13 EPA employee was running a personal business during work hours using EPA-issued equipment.
• One Senior Executive Service employee was running a personal business out of her EPA office during work hours, including the sale of jewelry, pocketbooks, and weight loss products.
• When traveling abroad, certain EPA employees would have the Agency pay for their international calls. An independent review identified nineteen EPA employees and contractors during a six-month period that racked up $4,136.49 in international roaming charges for personal calls.
• In May 2013, it became public that EPA's warehouse in Landover, Maryland, was fitted with "mancaves" and safety hazards making it unfit for Agencywork. To this day, EPA spends approximately $750,000 per year on the lease for this warehouse.