Waste, fraud and abuse, anyone?
We all know the deal with government contractors. Some attain great credibility for being scrupulous with the money they receive and their transparency in bookkeeping. Others… not so much. You always have to keep an eye on the books because they might end up padding their billable hours a bit or perhaps book first class flights when the contract only allows for coach. But it takes a serious set of stones submit a bill to Uncle Sam for a new Porsche for your CEO. Yet amazingly, as Government Executive reports this week, that’s not only what happened, but they actually collected the money. The culprits were from an outfit named New Century Consulting in Great Britain.
A contractor providing intelligence and training services to the Defense Department billed luxury cars to the government, sought reimbursements for the salaries of well-connected secretaries who did little in the way of actual work and exceeded statutory caps for executives’ pay, according to a new audit.
All told, the Defense Contract Auditing Agency questioned $50 million the British company New Century Consulting billed to the Pentagon, according to a report summarized in a letter from Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. The vehicles, including Porsches, a Bentley and an Aston Martin, were used exclusively by the CEO and other top executives at the company, DCAA found.
New Century operated as a subcontractor for Imperatis Corp., which has an extended history of problematic dealings with the federal government.
Oh, I’m sorry. Did I say “a Porsche?” The correct description was Porsches… as in more than one. And a Bentley and an Aston Martin to boot. Those are literally some of the most expensive, street legal cars you can buy anywhere. If this is supposed to be a joke it’s in particularly poor taste.
The details of those secretaries (excuse me… “executive assistants“) are fairly damning as well. First of all, two of them seemingly had no responsibilities and could not be shown to have done anything for the client. (That being the federal government.) On top of that, they were billing $420K per year. I’ll be the first to admit that a good executive assistant can be an invaluable resource and many probably deserve to earn more than they do. But you’d have to be one heck of an amazing secretary to pull down nearly as much as the President of the United States. Oh, and just to make things more interesting, the secretaries in question were also identified as being, wait for it… “the significant others of the CEO and chief financial officer” at New Century.
A quick look at Inside Government’s records for this contractor indicates that they’ve bagged more than $8.6M in contracts with our government since 2007. They raked in more than two million in 2016 alone. The “detailed descriptions” of some of their larger contracts really aren’t very detailed at all, but based on the description of their offerings found on the company website, it seems as if it’s special operations training and protection services for the most part.
If these guys have been caught running up charges in this fashion recently and they’ve been providing “services” since 2007, what are the odds that they only just now started padding the bills? Seems to me that a very thorough review of all their dealings with us is in order. In the meantime, all of you reading this probably deserve a little something for your unwitting generosity. Perhaps we can all get one square millimeter of seat cover fabric from all those cars.