Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Patent office workers bilked the government of millions by playing hooky, watchdog finds

The Washington Post reports:
Thousands of employees who review patents for the federal government potentially cheated taxpayers out of at least $18.3 million as they billed the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for almost 300,000 hours they never worked, according to a new investigation.

The investigation scheduled for release Wednesday by the independent watchdog for the Commerce Department, the patent office’s parent agency, determined that the real scale of fraud is probably double those numbers. To ensure that their conclusions were airtight, investigators interpreted the data they gathered conservatively, they said, often giving employees the benefit of the doubt for the time they reportedly worked.

The “minute-by-minute review” by Deputy Inspector General David Smith’s office of the work culture of the gatekeepers to a crucial sector of the U.S. economy analyzed billions of agency computer records covering 15 months in late 2014 and 2015. It was prompted by a 2014 Washington Post report that documented a coverup of time and attendance fraud by top Patent and Trademark Office officials. The Post obtained a copy of the inspector general’s investigation in advance of its release.
The self-interest of certain ,greedy , federal government workers.