JUNE 28, 2006
A high-ranking federal official responsible for securing multi-million dollar government contracts actually got a promotion and hefty pay raise while he was being investigated for taking bribes from a company that he schemed with to overcharge the government.
The official, William Mitten, eventually lost his job after pleading guilty to conspiracy to engage in conflict of interest for his role to overcharge the government for natural gas, but he kept the thousands of dollars in extra pay and a big pension boost that he received during the lengthy investigation.
Mitten was a director for the General Services Administration (GSA) in Vancouver and his duties included buying natural gas for federal facilities–such as prisons and hospitals – around the country. He accepted thousands of dollars in bribes and gifts from an Oklahoma natural gas company that also paid his wife $11,000 and a lucrative job.
That company, Tiger Natural Gas, recently agreed to pay $11 million in fines and restitution for overcharging the government through deals it made with Mitten over several years. A government whistleblower alerted officials of the scheme and, instead of firing Mitten, the feds promoted him and boosted his six-figure salary while damaging evidence surfaced daily.
This is of great concern since the GSA acts as a catalyst for nearly $66 million in federal spending and claims to help federal agencies better serve the public by offering the best value. As a high-ranking GSA official in charge of securing huge contracts, Mitten was responsible for millions of taxpayer dollars yet he was rewarded for wasting them in a fraudulent manner.
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