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Former DHS OIG agent admits role in records back-dating and falsification scheme
A former special agent of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (DHS-OIG) pleaded guilty on Jan. 17 to participating in a scheme to falsify records and to obstruct an internal field office inspection.
Wayne Ball, 40, of McAllen, TX, pleaded guilty to counts of signing and back-dating false investigative reports. At sentencing in April, Ball could face a five-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine.
DHS-OIG is charged with investigating alleged criminal activity by DHS employees, including corruption affecting the integrity of U.S. borders. According to court documents, Ball was a special agent with DHS-OIG at its McAllen Field Office from January 2009 to November 2012.
According to court documents, in September 2011, DHS-OIG conducted an internal inspection of the field office to evaluate whether its internal investigative standards and policies were being followed. Beginning in August 2011, Ball and at least two other DHS-OIG employees, identified in court documents only as “Supervisor A” and “Special Agent A,” allegedly engaged in a scheme to falsify documents in investigative case files.
Ball, said court records, admitted that the scheme’s purpose was to hide lapses – including significant periods of inactivity in pending criminal investigations over periods of months or years – from the inspection and from DHS-OIG headquarters, by falsifying investigative activity which had not taken place.
According to court documents, a criminal investigation was initiated by DHS-OIG in March 2010 into allegations that a Customs and Border Protection officer was helping to smuggle undocumented aliens and narcotics into the U.S. Special Agent A, said the court records, allegedly drafted false memoranda of activity (MOAs), at Supervisor A’s direction, to fill gaps of inactivity in the investigation, to which Special Agent A was assigned. With the intention of filling gaps that had occurred when Special Agent A was either not present at the office to investigate cases or was not employed by DHS-OIG at all, Special Agent A allegedly attributed the investigative activity to Ball, who signed and backdated the false MOAs. Supervisor A also allegedly signed and backdated the documents, which were placed in the investigation’s case file in advance of the internal inspection.