Thursday, May 01, 2008

Whistleblower alleges document fraud at Geo Group-run federal prison

A whistleblowing prison guard at a private facility run by the Geo Group in Pecos was escorted off the site after he reported ongoing misconduct to the local Sheriff, he blogs at This Ain't My First Rodeo. The blog cites:
allegations of fraud committed under his direction in which case managers tricked functionally illiterate foreign nationals incarcerated at RCDC facilities into signing out-dated incident reports against them so that The GEO Group administrators would not incur the wrath of BOP officials for administrative negligence, a characteristic -- among others even more nefarious -- for which they have become infamous in GEO's central region which includes Texas. ...

The alleged fraud occurred five to six weeks after a "shake-down" in January of 2008, during which scores of illegal cellphones were confiscated from inmates. Disciplinary c itations were then issued; however, they were not presented to the inmates until March of 2008. But BOP policy required the citations to be issued and signed within 3 to 5-days of the confiscations or up to ten-days later on the warden's signature -- early February at the latest if they were to be in compliance with B.O.P. policy. Instead the alleged fraud was perpetrated up to six-weeks later showing signatures of the inmates to be in compliance with the original January dates required by policy.

The inmates allege they were never informed in their native languages of the discrepancy in dates when they signed the citations in March with the January date affixed fraudulently beforehand on the top of the form or next to their signatures . Furthermore, they adamantly report they were under the assumption that, being out of compliance as per Constitutionally related requirements for due process, that the citations from January could not be served at the later date in the first place. They were simply ordered to "Firma le aqi!" ["Sign here" ] not knowing what they were even signing. I personally witnessed one such attempt to defraud an inmate in late March and I reported it within minutes afterward to Security. After my report, I never received another word of direction or feedback. (emphasis in original)
The blogger also lets us know about a possible financial scandal involving the Geo Group, referencing
allegations heard all 'round this small community concern a company known only on paper as "Affordable Tools." Affordable Tools is alleged to have been more or less a ghost company operating out of an empty warehouse office. With nothing more than a phone and perhaps a fax machine, orders from the RCDC III Maintenance Department were "processed" by this "retailer" who then "tacked on a percentage" and passed on the Maintenance Department orders to legitimate wholesales with whom the Maintenance Department could have just as easily dealt with directly at the wholesalers' lower cost. The unnecessary middleman, Affordable Tools, apparently enjoyed the legal empowerment of the former County Commission who approved the contract on the recommendation of its County Judge, in whose name Affordable Tools is alleged to have operated.

At any rate, most of those involved -- or who knew about it but looked the other way -- were swept from office in the voter-directed purge of 2006. The GEO Group's local and regional administrators have, to date, remained unscathed by the scandal; however, despite that GEO continues to operate in Reeves County, they do so under increased scrutiny by a reform-minded county commission and county judge who have now taken over the financial reins at the prison, alert to GEO's history of shenanigans in wooing those who award and monitor county contracts.

To his credit, in his first months in office, County Judge Sam Contreras apparently refused to give further consent to a system of shady insider deals that might have involved him and the County Commission in the ethically dubious conflicts of interest set-up by their predecessors.

Despite that Affordable Tools -- and possibly other interlocutors of the same questionable ilk -- is now defunct, it is rumored that the FBI has the matter under investigation using a former maintenance clerk as a protected witness.
The Affordable Tools story sounds like it's not over yet, and if the description of its role is accurate the FBI should be investigating.

In related excellent blogging, Texas Prison Bidness analyzes a presentation last week to the Lehman Brothers investment bank by the Geo Group.


Anonymous said...

Geogroup has facilities in Florida which are not being run according to regulations. Complaints have been filed with the local and state authorities but have not been acted on. South Florida, to be more specific.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

It may come as no surprise that Geo-Group paid $9,000 in five installments in 2006 to Florida Senator Bill Nelson, whose name pops up as recipient of money when large corporations are being sued in Florida. For details go to