An Interior Department employee lied about having cancer and used forged doctors’ notes to get 256 hours of sick leave, according to an inspector general report.
The Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General confirmed the employee “lied about her cancer diagnosis, forged medical records, falsified documents, and abused her own sick leave and leave donated by coworkers.”
The unnamed female employee, who worked in the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST), left her Interior Department before investigators could issue a report. The matter was referred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Mexico, but they declined to prosecute.
“We found no evidence that the OST employee had been diagnosed with cancer or that she received medical care for cancer as she claimed,” investigators reported, noting on “15 occasions, the employee submitted physicians’ notes to OST containing forged signatures from 5 separate medical providers.”
Investigators found the employee was “authorized 256 hours of her own sick leave and received 28 hours of donated leave from her coworkers.” Officials only issued a summary report to the public Monday.
That report was released on the same day as another that found a supervisor at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona stole entrance fees for about six years before being caught.
Supervisor Sharon Baldwin stole $316,000 from 2010 to 2016, according to federal officials. Baldwin was also caught “altering electronic records and documentation to conceal the theft,” according to the Justice Department.
Baldwin was sentenced to one year in prison and three years of supervised release on Monday. A federal judge also ordered Baldwin to repay the money she stole.
“It was definitely a shock to learn of her actions, but she no longer works here,” Petrified Forest National Park Superintendent Brad Traver told the Phoenix New Times.
“The public has a high standard of trust for public employees, and when that trust is broken, it’s difficult for all of us. I want to assure the public and visitors that appropriate disciplinary action is being taken in this case,” Traver said.
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