Federal investigators said whistleblowers exposed the matter.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives intentionally overstated the duties of multiple workers so they could be classified as law enforcement agents and be paid more, according to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel report this week.
Federal investigators say the agency has been making such overpayments since 2003. And over 100 jobs in the agency’s human Resources department and other departments were falsely labeled as criminal investigators, according to the Washington Times.
The investigators allege that roughly $20 million was wasted on overpayments in a five-year period, according to a letter for the special counsel office Tuesday to President Biden.
Fifty employees who held positions that were misclassified have either been reassigned or have retired, according to the letter, obtained by CNBC that also states whistleblowers helped expose the matter.
“I thank the whistleblowers for coming forward with these very serious allegations and am pleased that under [Office of Personnel Management] oversight, ATF has initiated corrective measures,” special counsel Henry Kerner said.
Kerner said progress is being made toward fixing the problems, but acknowledged the process is slow.
“While I find the report to be reasonable, progress toward full resolution has been slow, which may be attributable to the long-standing nature of the problems and the entrenched culture reinforcing ATF’s practices,” he said.