Former Federal Investigator Convicted for Fabricating Dozens of Background Check Interviews

Christopher B. Laughlin, 37, of Whiteland, Indiana, was sentenced to one year of federal probation and must pay restitution in the amount of $69,846.44 after pleading guilty to making false statements in the course of his government employment.

On August 2, 2021, as part of DCSA’s internal control process, an individual reported that Laughlin never interviewed them, contrary to Laughlin’s statements in an investigation report. DCSA investigated and identified three other sources Laughlin claimed to have interviewed in the same investigation who all stated they’d never been interviewed. DCSA’s Office of the Inspector General then initiated a formal investigation into Laughlin’s conduct.

Investigators determined that between February 18 and September 1, 2021, Laughlin submitted at least 22 false reports containing fabricated statements from at least 43 interviews that never actually happened. The reports included statements that the sources purportedly made to Laughlin by people he never spoke with. DCSA spent $69.846.214 in payroll and travel to conduct the investigations that Laughlin fabricated.

Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana is quoted as stating in a press release from the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Indiana, “The safety and security of our country depends on the trustworthiness and integrity of federal employees and contractors,” and “This defendant’s decision to falsify reports and fabricate statements compromised the integrity of these important investigations, and increased the risk that unsuitable individuals are put in positions that could compromise our government and our national security. I commend DCSA OIG, DCIS, and our federal prosecutor for their commitment to protect the public and hold officials accountable for criminal violations of their oaths to serve and protect the public.”

Darrin K. Jones, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Southeast Field Office said that “Compromising the integrity of the security clearance process puts our country’s most sensitive information at unnecessary risk,” and that, “DCIS, along with our investigative partners, will continue to aggressively pursue bad actors whose actions threaten to undermine the public’s trust.”

Read the full press release here.

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