Agency Workers Bill Taxpayers for BMWs, High-Def TVs

Agency Workers Bill Taxpayers for BMWs, High-Def TVs

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Federal workers at one tiny agency are living large on the taxpayers’ dime.

Employees at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, (FMCS) responsible for providing legal services to government agencies, have allegedly been using their federal purchase cards as personal credit cards. Charging the government for big-ticket items like home theater systems as well as smaller routine purchases like trips to the grocery store, the Washington Examiner reports.

One FMCS worker reportedly used his agency issued card to lease a $58,000 BMW.


The Examiner reviewed bank records for the 230-person agency with an annual budget of $46 million and found the FMCS employees routinely used their federal cards to decorate their offices, and reward themselves with bonuses and awards.

Within the last two years, employees bought at least 38 LCD projectors, or home theater systems that cost up to $9,500 each. They also spent nearly $4,000 at a jewelry store.

In one case, an employee charged the government $2,300 for an entertainment center in his office. Another was reimbursed after spending $1,316 on furniture for her home office.

Indeed they likely have expensive taste since the average FMCS worker earns $120,000 a year---almost twice the income of the average American taxpayer who earns $56,000.


Officials from FMCS could not be reached for response, as they have been furloughed amid the government shutdown. But they did release a statement earlier this week, saying the Examiner’s reports came to light on the heels of a dispute with a “disgruntled worker,” that has since been resolved.

This is not the only example of fraud and abuse by government workers. In April, 24 current and former IRS employees in Tennessee were charged with fraud in an unemployment scheme.  Their false claims netted $250,000 of government benefits, including food stamps, housing vouchers and jobless benefits.

At about the same time, the Justice Department was pursuing a similar case in Indiana, where four employees claimed $30,000 worth of benefits 

Brianna Ehley is the former Washington Correspondent for The Fiscal Times. She is currently a reporter on Politico's health care team in Washington, D.C.