Friday, February 6, 2009

The Embassy Hired Him When He Was 12?

A former employee at U.S. Embassy in Haiti pleads guilty to theft of more than $800,000 - that's the headline of the press release that came from the Department of Justice yesterday. Full text reprinted below:

February 5, 2009: WASHINGTON – A former employee at the U.S. Embassy in Haiti pleaded guilty today to one count of theft for stealing more than $800,000 from the U.S. Department of State, Acting Assistant Attorney General Rita M. Glavin of the Criminal Division announced.

According to court documents, Jean G. Saint-Joy, 25, a/k/a Gary Saint-Joy, a/k/a Garry Saint-Joy, a citizen of Haiti, was employed as a cashier by the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, from approximately 1995 until July 2008 (emphasis mine).

Beginning in approximately 2003 and continuing until early 2008, Saint-Joy admitted he engaged in a scheme to embezzle funds from the State Department. As part of this scheme, Saint- Joy admitted he submitted and caused to be submitted false and fraudulent documents to the State Department claiming that he required reimbursement for the payment of legitimate embassy expenses. According to court documents, Saint-Joy illegally obtained approximately $428,639 from the State Department as a result of the scheme. Saint-Joy also admitted he provided and caused to be provided false and fraudulent requests for cash advances from the embassy’s cash advance accounts with two banks in Port-au-Prince. According to court documents, Saint-Joy illegally obtained approximately $50,000 from one account and approximately $371,627 from the other account. The total amount of Saint-Joy’s theft was approximately $849,000.

The charge to which Saint-Joy pleaded guilty carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. Sentencing was scheduled for May 26, 2009.

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Ethan H. Levisohn and Marc Levin of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, which is headed by William M. Welch, II. The case was investigated by the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of State.

This guy would be one of our local hire, officially referred to as either a "Foreign Service National" or LES for "locally employed staff." But the guy is 25 years old. He was, according to this press release "employed as a cashier by the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, from approximately 1995 until July 2008." Hmmnn ... that would make him approximately 12 years old when he started working there, wouldn't it? Been trying to find the relevant OIG report as well to no avail. Looks like the list of reports posted online dates back as far as 2007 only. Don't know what happened to the more current ones. I simply wanted to know what his American supervisors were doing while the culprit was doing his scheme between 2003-2005. Was this a question of lack of oversight? Or was this the results of doing less with less. At one post, with no HR officer, the Management Officer was pulling double duty as the HR officer. But the officer had no HR training, and the local staff had no prior training, which screwed up everyone - naturally. Imagine if the Management Officer is doing triple duty as the Financial Management Officer with no training either... yes, that would be problematic...

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