What is going on with our government’s contractors?
People were laughing at the quirkily named “Reality Winner” just recently, a 26-year-old Georgia woman and former Air Force translator who did contract work most recently at the National Security Agency’s office in Augusta. Winner was accused of smuggling a classified report concerning Russia out of the NSA office in her pantyhose, later admitting to FBI agents investigating the case that she had in fact mailed the classified report to an unspecified online news agency. Winner just pled guilty in June and was sentenced to five years in prison on August 23.
Most recently, two news reports came out on September 7, 2018, about two more government contractors in hot water. First, a Costa Rican contractor working for the State Department was convicted of theft of government funds. Forty-three year old Mauricio Andulo Hidalgo was sentenced to 30 months in prison for stealing almost $240,000 in U.S. government money.
Second, a defense contracting business based out of New Jersey was able to steal around $7,000,000 via fraud. The business owner, a 42-year-old Turkish citizen named Ferdi Murat Gul was indicted on September 5 for “six counts of wire fraud and single counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to violate the arms export control act and violating that act.” Gul is most likely in Turkey at the moment but currently unaccounted for.
Gul and co-conspirators within his company were able to smuggle so much money by forging certifications and lying to the Defense Department about the locations of their facilities hired to manufacture military equipment. Not much more is known right now as the story is developing and law enforcement tracks down Gul.
This alarming number of shady government contractors is actually an epidemic at the moment. If outright fraud isn’t being planned, disorganization and negligence are shockingly rampant. Reports have shown that around 83% of government contractors in industries such as IT and data infrastructures are out of compliance with government standards.
Some state and congressional representatives are trying to remedy the situation, but more pressing concerns like immigration, wages, world affairs, and general political drama have been pretty distracting this year. Seeing as government contactors are connected to everything from military to cyber security, officials are aiming to manage regulations and oversight sooner rather than later.