WASHINGTON – Michael Johnson, 43-years old, a former background investigator who did work under contract for the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA), pled guilty today to a charge stemming from his falsification of work on background investigations of federal employees and contractors, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin.
Johnson, of Columbia, Missouri, pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to making a false statement. The Honorable Trevor N. McFadden scheduled sentencing for February 9, 2021. The charge carries a statutory penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
According to a statement of offense submitted to the Court, Johnson was employed by CACI, a private entity that had a contract to supply background investigative services to DCSA on behalf of the Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Investigative Services, which now is known as OPM’s National Background Investigations Bureau. Johnson admitted that, between approximately April 2015 and February 2016, he submitted roughly 65 Reports of Investigations on background investigations, in which he falsely represented that he had interviewed a source or reviewed a record regarding the subject of the background investigation. In fact, Johnson had not conducted the interviews or obtained the records of interest. These reports were utilized and relied upon by the agencies requesting the background investigations to determine whether the subjects were suitable for positions having access to classified information, for positions impacting national security, for receiving or retaining security clearances, or for positions of public trust.
The false representations by Johnson have required OPM and DCSA to reopen and rework numerous background investigations that were assigned to him during the time period of his falsifications, at an estimated cost of at least $254,555.92 to the U.S. government.
OPM has a robust integrity assurance program which utilizes a variety of methods to ensure the accuracy of reported information. The falsification of investigative case work by the defendant was detected through the program.
This is one of numerous cases prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia since 2008 involving false representations by background investigators and record checkers working on federal background investigations. In addition to Johnson, more than 25 other background investigators have been convicted of charges.
This matter was investigated by the DCSA Office of Inspector General and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bianca Forde of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section.