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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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…

27,000 for PR – Who’s Driving This Thing?

I fell on off my chair when I saw this today: AP reports that the Pentagon will employ 27,000 people just for recruitment, advertising and public relations this year — almost as many as the total 30,000-person work force in the State Department. I’d be surprised if State has as many as 1000 public affairs professionals in its rolls. I’m surprised; there are actually about 1,050 State Department folks who worked in public diplomacy, supported by locally hired staff overseas. Still, isn’t 27,000 a mighty large number?

But – I can now add one more factoid to the collection I have below for a special round of Jeopardy questions!

#1. Who has more band members than the State Department has diplomats?

  1. a. Military
  2. b. Band of Brothers
  3. c. University band
  4. d. Smashing Pumpkins

#2. Who has more lawyers than the State Department has diplomats?

  1. a. Britney Spears
  2. b. Pentagon
  3. c. Christian Beale
  4. d. Judicial Watch

#3. The number of people in our Foreign Service equals roughly to the number of personnel aboard a single U.S. Navy aircraft carrier strike group at sea. How many?

  1. a. 6,600
  2. b. 5,050
  3. c. 2,500
  4. d. 9,400

#4. DOD has an annual budget of over $500 billion, and spends how many times as much as Foggy Bottom aka: the State Department?

  1. a. 10X
  2. b. 75X
  3. c. 50X
  4. d. 20X

#5. Answers

  1. a. What is the Military?
  2. b. What is the Pentagon?
  3. c. What is 6,600?
  4. d. What is 50 times?

Oh, by the way — the Pentagon’s rapidly expanding media empire is reportedly now bigger in size, money and power than many media companies. When we think media mogul, we can now add DOD to the company of Rupert Murdoch, Silvio Berlusconi, Jimmy Lai and such? Yay!

This same AP report points to the danger of psychological operations reaching a U.S. audience. This became clear “when an American TV anchor asked Gen. David Petraeus about the mood in Iraq. The general held up a glossy photo of the Iraqi national soccer team to show the country united in victory. Behind the camera, his staff was cringing. It was U.S. psychological operations that had quietly distributed tens of thousands of the soccer posters in July 2007 to encourage Iraqi nationalism.”

Well – what’s wrong with that, huh? If glowing stories are written by Pentagon staff (Joint Hometown News Service), given away as a free service, with authors’ names but not their titles, and no mention anywhere that the writers are paid for by the Pentagon? What’s wrong with glowing newsy stuff, by the way – aren’t those better than bad news, and much, much better than no news?

And who’s going to complain? We’re in the middle of two wars, and the $547 million that goes into public affairs (and reaches American audiences) is just a drop in the big DOD bucket.

And yet somehow – I find myself still waiting for that John Boyd’s “to be or to do” moment, for somebody to put his/her foot on the brakes long enough to ask the question if we’re not being a tad overboard on this PR thing.


Related Items:


Related Post:
Updated 5/8/09
Retired Military Analysts: DOD’s IG Withdraws Report Findings

27,000 for PR – Who’s Driving This Thing?

I fell on off my chair when I saw this today: AP reports that the Pentagon will employ 27,000 people just for recruitment, advertising and public relations this year — almost as many as the total 30,000-person work force in the State Department. I’d be surprised if State has as many as 1000 public affairs professionals in its rolls. I’m surprised; there are actually about 1,050 State Department folks who worked in public diplomacy, supported by locally hired staff overseas. Still, isn’t 27,000 a mighty large number?

But – I can now add one more factoid to the collection I have below for a special round of Jeopardy questions!

#1. Who has more band members than the State Department has diplomats?

  1. a. Military
  2. b. Band of Brothers
  3. c. University band
  4. d. Smashing Pumpkins

#2. Who has more lawyers than the State Department has diplomats?

  1. a. Britney Spears
  2. b. Pentagon
  3. c. Christian Beale
  4. d. Judicial Watch

#3. The number of people in our Foreign Service equals roughly to the number of personnel aboard a single U.S. Navy aircraft carrier strike group at sea. How many?

  1. a. 6,600
  2. b. 5,050
  3. c. 2,500
  4. d. 9,400

#4. DOD has an annual budget of over $500 billion, and spends how many times as much as Foggy Bottom aka: the State Department?

  1. a. 10X
  2. b. 75X
  3. c. 50X
  4. d. 20X

#5. Answers

  1. a. What is the Military?
  2. b. What is the Pentagon?
  3. c. What is 6,600?
  4. d. What is 50 times?

Oh, by the way — the Pentagon’s rapidly expanding media empire is reportedly now bigger in size, money and power than many media companies. When we think media mogul, we can now add DOD to the company of Rupert Murdoch, Silvio Berlusconi, Jimmy Lai and such? Yay!

This same AP report points to the danger of psychological operations reaching a U.S. audience. This became clear “when an American TV anchor asked Gen. David Petraeus about the mood in Iraq. The general held up a glossy photo of the Iraqi national soccer team to show the country united in victory. Behind the camera, his staff was cringing. It was U.S. psychological operations that had quietly distributed tens of thousands of the soccer posters in July 2007 to encourage Iraqi nationalism.”

Well – what’s wrong with that, huh? If glowing stories are written by Pentagon staff (Joint Hometown News Service), given away as a free service, with authors’ names but not their titles, and no mention anywhere that the writers are paid for by the Pentagon? What’s wrong with glowing newsy stuff, by the way – aren’t those better than bad news, and much, much better than no news?

And who’s going to complain? We’re in the middle of two wars, and the $547 million that goes into public affairs (and reaches American audiences) is just a drop in the big DOD bucket.

And yet somehow – I find myself still waiting for that John Boyd’s “to be or to do” moment, for somebody to put his/her foot on the brakes long enough to ask the question if we’re not being a tad overboard on this PR thing.


Related Items:


Related Post:
Updated 5/8/09
Retired Military Analysts: DOD’s IG Withdraws Report Findings