Updated at 3:32 p.m.
A recent audit of the U.S. Marshals Service office that serves the District of Columbia Superior Court identified a series of problems with management of salaries and overtime, procurement and property control, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General said in a new report.
The investigation found the marshals office was too reliant on overtime to staff the courthouse cellblock. Other problems included criminal investigators not working as many hours as they were required to by the Justice Department; a lack of reporting on how employees were using government credit cards; and inadequate policies for tracking weapons stolen from the service.
Investigators found $275,000 in "unsupported costs," which included salaries and credit cards that were supposed to be used for gas and services on government vehicles and other job-related expenses. From 2008 to 2011, about 10 percent of the 1.5 million hours worked by service employees was overtime, resulting in $6 million in overtime pay. The audit found several employees who reported at least 1,000 hours in annual overtime.
The report noted that several employees were previously investigated for fraud. The former lead administrative officer for the local U.S. Marshals Service, Sno Rush, was sentenced to jail in 2011 after pleading guilty to stealing $104,000 in government funds, including using a government credit card to buy $15,000 in gas and services for her personal vehicle. The inspector general's office found two other employees fraudulently received overtime pay, but, according to the report, the Justice Department declined to prosecute.
The District of Columbia is the only local jurisdiction served by the U.S. Marshals Service, which functions similarly to a sheriff's office. The office's functions include carrying out evictions and bringing defendants to court.
In a response filed with the report, the U.S. Marshals Service said a new staffing model put in place in January ensured the courthouse cellblock was a safe environment. Still, the Marshals Service said it would develop a long-term plan for reducing the need for overtime on Saturdays. The service pledged to create, update or formalize its policies for managing overtime, accounting for employee hours, tracking use of government credit cards and dealing with stolen property.
In a statement, U.S. Marshals Service spokesman Drew Wade said the agency "took immediate steps" to resolve concerns that came up during the audit process.
"All the recommendations have been or are in the process of being integrated into the district’s management and oversight procedures, and are considered resolved by the OIG," he said. "The public should know that the concerns cited in the audit report had no impact on the integrity of court proceedings or court security."