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The need to conduct background investigations on government employees

April 28, 2009

Shelby County, Tennessee
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I have earlier posted a story from News and Observer regarding illegal conduct of the Johnston County Clerks.  Now we are a few more stories. It seems the real estate corruption was to the core, to the “Soul of the County”.

From Memphis Tennessee, Shelby County Clerk’s Office Employees Say Favors were ordered by bosses


Shelby County Clerk orders background checks for all new employees Nine employees have been disciplined as part of on-going administrative and criminal investigations At least two workers claim preferential treatment was ordered by higher-ups in the office

( Memphis 4/24/2009) New information has surfaced in the investigation into the Shelby County Clerk’s office. Already, nine of the office’s 98 employees have been disciplined. Now WREG News Channel 3 Investigators have uncovered claims by employees who say they felt pressured by bosses to break the rules. The allegations range from pulling favors for friends and family, to accepting illegal payments.

In its on-going investigation, the Shelby County Attorney’s office says, for years, a culture of entitlement has, and still exists in the clerk’s office. One in which favors are exchanged for money, gifts, or for political reasons.T oday, the warning signs of the Clerk’s “no tip policy” are hard to miss. They went-up after charges came out that workers routinely accepted tips and other gifts from customers over the years.

For the complete story, click here

Next from the District of Columbia’s Washington Examiner, D.C. finance office investigators had heavy workload during 2008

By: Michael Neibauer
Examiner Staff Writer
04/27/09 7:25 PM

The D.C. finance office’s investigative arm closed dozens of fraud, theft, embezzlement, bribery and other cases in fiscal 2008 during what the branch termed a “particularly challenging year,” given the fallout of the $50 million tax office scandal.

The Office of Integrity and Oversight under Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi opened a record 94 investigations last fiscal year and closed 80, according to a recently completed annual report, obtained by The Examiner through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The unraveling of the OTR scam led to numerous, unrelated allegations of fraud and abuse across Gandhi’s organization, according to the report. It also spurred a new policy demanding background checks of all longtime staffers, which uncovered at least one employee with a hidden criminal past.

Between Oct. 1, 2007, and Sept. 30, 2008, 19 Office of the Chief Financial Officer employees were either terminated or forced to resign, including some tied to the tax office scandal. An additional seven were targeted for “management correction,” four were suspended, and one person faced “removal/reassignment.” Thirteen cases were closed without action and 20 are still pending adjudication.

The annual report includes a brief overview of the Harriette Walters tax office scam, a two-decade-long fraud within the Real Property Tax Administration that drained D.C. coffers of roughly $50 million. While investigating that crime, “evidence was developed that resulted in the conviction of two OTR employees for mortgage fraud,” according to the report.

The rest of the story and other articles are here

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