EPA Employee Demoted for Prison Telephone Scheme

Another retires in Hatch Act investigation

December 5, 2012

An Environmental Protection Agency employee was demoted and reassigned in April "due to involvement in a telephone calling scheme" involving prison inmates, according to the agency’s recently released semi-annual report to Congress.

"The scheme involved using government telephone lines that gave inmates at a prison in Illinois access to EPA telephone lines in order to make personal telephone calls from prison," the report stated. "The employee reportedly received compensation for performing this act."

The employee was not fired for this violation.

The employee was instead demoted from a GS-12 pay scale, which ranges from at least $68,000 annually to nearly $106,000, depending on what "step" in the pay scale (1-10) the employee is at, as well as locality pay adjustment.

The employee’s salary was lowered to GS-9 levels, according to the report. That would put his annual salary at least around $47,500.

Another EPA employee retired in May while under investigation for fraud and Hatch Act violations.

"It was alleged that the employee committed time and attendance fraud, conducted personal business on government-issued computer equipment, and violated the Hatch Act," the report stated. "When interviewed, the employee admitted to conducting personal business on government time."

The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activity.

It is likely the employee is now receiving a federal pension since he retired.

The EPA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Published under: Congress , EPA , Hatch Act