Bryan M. Marchand, 39, a former background investigator who did work under contract for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), was sentenced yesterday to three months in jail on a charge stemming from the alleged falsification of work on background investigations of federal employees and contractors.

Marchand pled guilty in April 2012 in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Upon completion of his prison term, Marchand will be placed on three years of supervised release, 12 months of which will be on home detention. As part of the guilty plea, Marchand agreed to pay $192,071 in restitution to the federal government.

Marchand was employed with United States Investigations Services (USIS) as an investigator under contract to conduct background investigations on behalf of OPM’s Federal Investigative Services. For certain federal employment positions and other various circumstances, federal background investigations are required. For example, in order to obtain a security clearance, a background investigation must be conducted into the individual’s personal life and previous work experiences. The investigation results are then compiled into a comprehensive report and used as a basis to grant or deny the security clearance.

According to prosecutors, between May 2007 and May 2008, in more than four dozen reports of investigations on background investigations, Marchand represented that he had interviewed a source or reviewed a record regarding the subject of the background investigation although he had not conducted the interview or obtained the record.

These types of reports are utilized and relied upon by the agencies requesting the background investigations to determine whether the candidates are suitable for positions having access to classified information, for positions impacting national security, or for receiving or retaining security clearances. If a background investigator has not actually conducted the investigation according to all requirements, but states as such, then the federal government apparently views the claim as a false statement under federal criminal law.

In the past three years, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. has prosecuted 11 other background investigators and two record checkers for similar charges. The press release indicates that prosecutors are usually tipped off after being informed of inaccuracies that are found during internal compliance procedures taken by the federal contractor providing the service, which in this case would be USIS. Albeit a violation of employment practices to falsify information in the report of investigation, the fact that federal criminal charges can be imposed for false statements should put the employees of USIS, and similar government contractors, on notice of what they are facing if the company or federal government believes such falsifying is taking place.

In addition to the prison term and supervised release, Marchand’s sentence requires him to pay $192,071 in restitution to the U.S. government for the reopening and reworking of background investigations, as claimed by OPM’s Federal Investigative Services.

The author of this blog is Erich Ferrari, an attorney specializing in Federal Criminal Defense matters. If you have any questions please contact him at 202-280-6370 or ferrari@ferrari-legal.com.

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