Falsification of Compensation Form Leads to Removal and Conviction of 17-Year Federal Employee

An employee with 17 years of federal service was convicted for making a falst statement to obtain compensation. He also lost his job and a court upholds the removal.

Mr. Banks, a letter carrier fired by the Postal Service after providing false information in connection with an application for workers compensation, found no sympathy from the Merit Systems Protection Board or the federal appeals court. (Banks, II v. United States Postal Service, U.S.C.A.F.C. No. 05-3363 (non-precedent), 6/12/06)

Banks received workers compensation for 13 years after an on-the-job injury. But, when the Office of Workmen’s Compensation sent him a form CA-1032 to complete and sign, he made the mistake of giving a false answer to the question “Were you self-employed or involved in any business enterprise in the past 15 months.” He said “no,” but the Postal Inspection Service found evidence that the answer should have been “yes.” (Opinion, p. 2)

Banks was charged and tried before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. The court found him guilty of one felony count of making a false statement to obtain federal employee’s compensation. He got a 10-month sentence, 3 years probation, and was fined $62,508.86. (Id.)

His troubles did not stop there.

Following his conviction, he was fired by the Postal Service for submitting false information on Form CA-1032. He appealed to the Board to no avail. (Banks v. United States Postal Servs., No. DA0752040726-I-1 (January 18, 2005))

So, Mr. Banks petitioned the appeals court. The court found no basis to overturn the MSPB decision on his removal appeal.  The crux of the appeal was that there was insufficient evidence to support the charge of falsification.

The court disagreed. It believed there was ample evidence to support the fact that Banks should have answered “yes” to being involved with a company. The court cited these facts: the Articles of Incorporation listed Banks as an incorporator; the business license application listed him as the owner; his name was on a contract between the company and the State of Arkansas; several cancelled company checks were endorsed by Banks; and the District Court found Banks guilty of making a false statement. (Opinion, p. 3)

Even though Banks had a 17-year employment record with no prior discipline, the penalty of removal was reasonable: “…the offense was serious; the actions deliberate and calculating; and …[his] conduct had destroyed the ‘trust and confidence inherent in the employer/employee agency.’” (Id.)

About the Author

Susan McGuire Smith spent most of her federal legal career with NASA, serving as Chief Counsel at Marshall Space Flight Center for 14 years. Her expertise is in government contracts, ethics, and personnel law.