Feds run off track with Pentagon transit perk

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In 2007, the Government Accountability Office estimated that federal agencies had paid about $17 million in fraudulent transit payments. In some cases, employees were selling the nontransferable perks over the Internet.

In 2008, the State Department suspended one employee for a month after the employee was caught selling transit subsidies outside of a subway stop in Washington, according to an internal report on the case obtained by The Washington Times through the Freedom of Information Act.

The worker claimed ignorance, telling investigators that the fares were simply “government perks.”

In its report last month, the Pentagon inspector general’s office said it was referring 10 cases for criminal investigation.

The review also found “inaccurate or incomplete” records for all but 8,714 of the 41,279 workers who took part in the transit program. What’s more, about 5,000 employees overstated their benefits, resulting in more than a half-million dollars in overpayments.

Mr. Sepp said several of the reforms probably have weeded out “many if not most of the double dippers.” Still, he said, “ethically challenged” employees will be tempted to game the system.

“If federal officials truly believe that offering such generous benefits will ease congestion and clean the air, then the least they owe taxpayers, many of whom pay for transit out of their own pockets, is to prosecute fraud and abuse wherever and whenever it’s found,” he said.

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