On October 1, 2020, an Administrative Judge (AJ) determined that an Individual's access authorization under 10 C.F.R. Part 710 should not be granted. The Individual was arrested in July 2011, and charged with crimes related to the unlawful taking and use of a credit card from a resident at a nursing home (Nursing Home A) at which the Individual had been employed. The Police Report of the arrest indicates that the Individual admitted to taking and using the credit card, and court records show that the resulting criminal charges were dismissed in 2012. The Individual resigned from her position with Nursing Home A shortly afterward. In 2012, the Individual was terminated from her employment with Nursing Home B. In 2015, the Individual signed and submitted a Declaration for Federal Employment (DFE) and a Questionnaire for Public Trust Positions (QPTP). She denied being fired from any job for any reason within the past five years in the DFE, and denied being fired from any job in the past seven years in the QPTP. The Individual also marked "no" in the QPTP in response to a question asking her disclose any past arrests or criminal charges. In a 2017 DFE, the Individual marked "no" in response to the question asking whether the Individual had been fired from any job for any reason within the past five years. In a 2017 Questionnaire for National Security Positions (QNSP), the Individual marked "no" to the question asking whether she had been arrested omitted her employment with Nursing Home A, omitted her suspension from employment with Employer D, and stated she left Employer C to seek federal employment, despite being terminated from her employment with Employer C. The Individual was also terminated from her employment with Employer D in 2017.
As an initial matter pertaining to Guideline E (Personal Conduct) concerns, the AJ found that the Individual's assertions at the hearing that her omissions were unintentional or inadvertent were not credible.
In an effort to mitigate Guideline E (Personal Conduct) concerns, counsel for the Individual argued that the Individual made good faith and prompt efforts to correct her omissions. The AJ found this argument unconvincing, as the Individual only addressed these omissions after she was confronted with them by investigators, and she continued to be less than candid at the hearing about her motives for making these omissions. The AJ further found that the Individual had several opportunities to disclose derogatory information that she had previously omitted, having completed and signed multiple forms over the span of years.
Counsel for the Individual also asked the AJ to consider mitigating factor (c), arguing that a sufficient amount of time has passed since the forms were completed in 2017 and the incidents that took place in 2011 and 2012. The AJ found that the Individual's lack of credibility during her hearing testimony shows that the concerns about her trustworthiness, judgement, honesty, and reliability raised both by these omissions and the behaviors that they concealed have continued into the present. Accordingly, the AJ found that behaviors raising concerns under Guideline E: did not occur so long ago; were not minor, were not due to any unique circumstances; and were not infrequent.
In an attempt to mitigate the stated Guideline J (Criminal Conduct) concerns, the Individual argued that she was innocent of the charges that resulted in her July 2011 arrest by stating that the charges were ultimately either dismissed or withdrawn. The AJ found that the fact that the charges against the Individual were ultimately dismissed does not preclude the possibility that the Individual participated in the alleged acts outlined in the Police Report. The AJ further found the Individual's assertion, that the arresting officer fabricated her admission to taking the credit card, to be lacking in credibility.
The Individual also provided evidence that she obtained her CNA license, received a number of commendations and cash rewards for her work performance, and received positive performance reviews from her supervisors. She also submitted two letters recommending her as a compassionate and kind person, provided information regarding her continued involvement in her church, and indicated that she has assumed the responsibility of providing her severely disabled sister with necessary care. However, the AJ could not find that the Individual provided evidence of successful rehabilitation under mitigating factor (d), because the Individual's employment record could not be characterized as "good," especially because she was terminated from Nursing Home A in 2011, suspended from another position in 2012, and terminated from Nursing Home B in 2012. Further, the alleged circumstances under which she lost her job with a Nursing Home A in 2011 were particularly egregious in nature.
Accordingly, the AJ found that Individual had not resolved the security concerns arising under Guidelines E and J. OHA Case No. PSH-20-0067 (Steven Fine).