History made: OSI tops $1 billion in fraud recoveries in 2023

  • Published
  • By Thomas Brading
  • OSI Public Affairs

The Office of Special Investigations made history this year after recovering a staggering $1 billion in fraud cases – the highest annual financial recovery since the organization's inception in 1948.

"Reaching this record amount during our 75th anniversary year is more than symbolic; it represents the culmination of relentless efforts and a focused approach towards procurement fraud," said Special Agent Jason Hein, OSI Procurement Fraud director.

The year's triumph, marked by roughly 50 significant closed recoveries in 2023, each on their own timelines, stands as a clear indicator of the dedication and hard work of OSI PF agents, Hein said. "Our success hinges on the exceptional work of our Special Agents. Their pursuit of results drives our progress.”

Among the notable cases in 2023 was the settlement with Amphenol Corporation. In a case led by OSI's PF Detachment 6, the corporation agreed to pay $18 million after allegations of selling non-conforming electrical connectors to the government.

Another example from OSI PF Det. 6 came with a case involving Booz Allen Hamilton, who agreed to a $377.45 million settlement for improperly billing commercial and international costs to its government contracts. This case highlighted issues in billing practices of government contractors.

According to Hein, OSI's collaborative efforts often extend beyond the Air Force, involving partnerships with agencies like the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and military branches such as the Army and Navy.

An example of this inter-agency cooperation was evident in a case from San Antonio, Texas, in April, where the Army Criminal Investigation Division played a crucial role. In this case, OSI PF agents --along with their counterparts-- uncovered a substantial fraud and bribery operation.

According to the Justice Department, a former Air Force civilian employee and four co-defendants were found to have orchestrated a scheme that involved over $2.3 million in bribes in exchange for awarding $100 million worth of Air Force projects. The primary defendant received a 15-year prison sentence. Additionally, substantial fines and restitution were ordered to be paid to both the IRS and Air Force.

These examples are just a few among many that highlight the collaborative essence of OSI PF's mission, showcasing their involvement in a variety of cases. “Every one of these recoveries is a team effort,” Hein said.

According to Hein, PF's success took shape in October, when total recoveries soared past $800 million, breaking all previous records.

This upward trend didn't stop there, as the last few months of 2023 saw several hundred million more added to the tally. “My predecessors laid a foundation focused on results," Hein said, crediting previous leaders for instilling a relentless drive for results in OSI’s fraud mission.

Since its inception in 2013, PF has witnessed a significant uptick in recoveries, a development Hein said is attributed to the professionalization of the procurement fraud mission. 

"Fraud is an evolving challenge and we’re adapting accordingly,” Hein said, who attributes the increasing number of recoveries to the refined skills of OSI PF agents and the addition of intelligence analysts to the investigative team.

Looking back on his career, the PF director sees the recent billion-dollar recovery as more than just a milestone. It represents the culmination of efforts to centralize the fraud mission.

“This billion-dollar recovery is not just a number,” he said. “It's proof of the effectiveness of our approach and a commitment to safeguarding the Air Force's resources.”