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Government Businesses

Snowden's Former Employer Under Criminal Investigation For Fraudulent Billing (boozallen.com) 45

McGruber writes: Booz Allen Hamilton, the contracting firm that was Edward Snowden's employer when he leaked classified information from the NSA has announced that it is under a federal civil and criminal investigation of its billing practices. The disclosure in a regulatory filing sent shares of parent company Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp. tumbling $7.33, or 18.6 percent, to $32 in Friday trading.
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Snowden's Former Employer Under Criminal Investigation For Fraudulent Billing

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  • by krotscheck ( 132706 ) on Saturday June 17, 2017 @10:55AM (#54638927) Homepage

    Why is Edward Snowden's former employment (on the consulting side) relevant to what their accountants are doing? After all, we're talking about a corporation of 22000 people here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Booz_Allen_Hamilton

    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      It is relevant because it shows, again, the NSA poor standards.

      I've always the Snowden leaks a mark or incompetence rather than malice. They have two jobs : spying and keeping secrets. And Snowden has shown that they failed at the second part. They basically turned into a data sink with no concern for security, including their own.

      That they allow crooks as their contractors for top secret positions is telling. It's either because they can't be bothered doing the necessary background checks (great for an age

    • by king neckbeard ( 1801738 ) on Saturday June 17, 2017 @11:47AM (#54639035)
      It's probably because it's an easy way to succinctly explain who they are to the general public, who isn't typically familiar with government contractors. Lots of people know who Snowden is, not so many know BAH.
    • by McGruber ( 1417641 ) on Saturday June 17, 2017 @12:34PM (#54639153)

      Why is Edward Snowden's former employment (on the consulting side) relevant to what their accountants are doing?

      I submitted the story because (1) Booz employes many IT professionals and (2) I believe their billing practices reflect the corporation's Organizational Culture [wikipedia.org].

      If Booz is willing to defraud the federal government, how do you think they are going to treat their employees?

      After all, we're talking about a corporation of 22000 people here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      All the more reason to discuss the corporation's organizational culture!

      Snowden did NOT share the corporation's values, according to its CEO: “I told our employees Mr. Snowden was on our payroll for a short period of time, but he was not a Booz Allen person and he did not share our values. We cannot and will not let him define us.” -- Booz Allen’s chief executive, Ralph W. Shrader, [washingtonpost.com]

      • All government contractors defraud the government at some level or another. The way the contracts are set up there is often no alternative.

        Silly example from my company: individual employees added to a project need to be approved with billing rates assigned before they can work on it. We had 4 people working on the project, and three quit within a month, two or three weeks before a major deadline. Per the contract, we have to finish the project on schedule, but cannot bill for people that are not approved.
        • You get 6 people approved and bill hours at zero so you have back up in case someone gets sick/injured. If zero is unavailable then. 1 hour a week to keep them in a loop meeting.

          This isn't rockets science or hard. The fact your company is too stupid to know that is telling.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Every contractor must be individually approved by the program COTR before being allowed to work on the program - a process that can sometimes take weeks. The COTR cannot approve more people than the project is budgeted for. It is, quite simply, not possible to have 6 people approved for a 4 person project.

            Every time you try to use common sense in government contracting, you will screw up, and in many cases, commit a crime. Don't even try. Just follow the rules, exactly as written. You'll still get sued

        • Per the contract, we have to finish the project on schedule, but cannot bill for people that are not approved. What do you do?

          You contact the client in writing to cover your ass before a higher up gets the bright idea that you should personally commit a Federal Crime to solve the issue.

          The purpose of all the contract requirements is to try to maintain accountability. It just gets out of hand sometimes.

          As far as I'm concerned, if you've lost 75% of your team just three weeks before a project is completed, that project is doomed. It doesn't matter to me how many new people you throw at that problem.

          See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] There is also the idea that most development teams keep the more difficult problems for the end of the project, an

        • "What you do" is not to defraud the client.

          I think you are saying that this was a contract where the client got to approve the specific people, not just the job/billing categories, that work on it? And the contract had no clause for agreeing on replacements if needed? Agreeing to such a contract is risky, and your company paid the price of doing so.

          But I also have wonder: 3 of the 4 named people "quit within a month", and gave so little notice that they didn't stay up to that deadline? Either your co
    • by c ( 8461 ) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Saturday June 17, 2017 @02:34PM (#54639525)

      Why is Edward Snowden's former employment (on the consulting side) relevant to what their accountants are doing?

      Maybe they're still billing the government for Edward Snowden's time and foreign living expenses.

    • Because it's claimed that Edward Snowden lied about his Master's degree, which the background check supposedly failed to uncover. So if your HR is incompetent, it's going to impact the entire organization because they do the hiring for the entire organization (assuming HR is the one that does that, for all I know, maybe the FBI did the background check, I don't know).

      That being said, I'm not sure if the degree thing is true. Many Universities in the US will refuse to confirm degrees, grades, or even attenda

    • so what, he gave ed a few bucks.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    My employer occasionally hired these management consultants thirty years ago. At that time, they were very adept at interviewing the management, and then telling them a summarized version that confirmed their preconceptions. Do I have a low opinion of "management consultants"? Yes, but I'm a technical person who works from logical principles.

    • And they were known as "The Bobs" right?

    • by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Saturday June 17, 2017 @11:53AM (#54639049)

      My employer occasionally hired these management consultants thirty years ago. At that time, they were very adept at interviewing the management, and then telling them a summarized version that confirmed their preconceptions. .

      That's how a lot of process or business improvement consulting works. In some ways its is crazy how a manager will listen to a consultant telling him/her what changes are needed when employees have been asking for the same things are sometimes ignored. But it often does take an impartial outside view to get to the truth, and often along with the employees knowing what was needed there also comes a ton of employee ideas that are not viable and management sometimes needs help weeding out the noise. A good consultant can sift through the BS and politics that hamper some managers, and describe the scenario in way that aligns with the goals of management.

      • A coworker pointed out flaws in the circuit in several places, and was ignored. Problems arose. Expensive outside agency points out the same flaws, and suddenly meetings are held. Not that the problems were fixed, but at least there were meetings to hand wring about it.

      • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Saturday June 17, 2017 @04:30PM (#54639897)

        My employer occasionally hired these management consultants thirty years ago. At that time, they were very adept at interviewing the management, and then telling them a summarized version that confirmed their preconceptions. .

        That's how a lot of process or business improvement consulting works. In some ways its is crazy how a manager will listen to a consultant telling him/her what changes are needed when employees have been asking for the same things are sometimes ignored. But it often does take an impartial outside view to get to the truth, and often along with the employees knowing what was needed there also comes a ton of employee ideas that are not viable and management sometimes needs help weeding out the noise. A good consultant can sift through the BS and politics that hamper some managers, and describe the scenario in way that aligns with the goals of management.

        I had a boss once tell me "The reason we hired the consultant was not to come up with new ideas but take ours ND tell upper management what we already knew but so they would actually listen to the ideas."

  • And nothing will come of it, save perhaps a slap on the wrist, and maybe some other contractors taking a bit of their turf until THEY are caught defrauding the government.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I worked on government contracts at a large company. The manager of our group would routinely direct the team to falsify time sheets. When I left the company, I informed HR and as far as I understand it, after a brief investigation he was actually promoted.

  • what about moveing staff in house??

    It should cost about the same with works getting about the same or more pay. All the overhead with a lot of contractors / sub contractors does add up as well lot's of over billing and under timing just to force them to extend

    • The reason big government contractors get so much work is not because most government agencies would prefer it that way. Most would rather do things in house. any efficiency arguments aside, it makes their little empire bigger. Rather it is because there is pressure at the top to do business with contractors who, unsurprisingly, are big donors.

  • From the linked news release it appears to center on how indirect costs were charged to contracts. Gov't contracts often allow overhead and iota indirect costs to be allocated to a contract and charged; you have to be careful how you allocate and the source of the cost. For example, a research institute I worked for had a government contract, and we reserved a conference room for exclusive use as well as had a separate supplies closet of office supplies to be used when working on the contract. No one was al
  • by Anonymous Coward

    There are so many companies contracted to the federal government. And I bet if their billing practices were all audited a majority of them would be found improperly billing.

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