The whistleblower who used the moniker Joe told CBS News that multiple employees received millions of dollars in bonuses under the Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP) system. Under the system, an ATF agent could receive 25 percent of their salary over base pay. Joe explained that if an agent makes a base salary of $100,000, they could receive $125,000 in LEAP bonuses.
However, only law enforcement officers working long and odd hours are qualified for the bonus. Those who aren't law enforcement agents are explicitly prohibited from collecting extra money.
"If you were functioning in an administrative capacity, you don't qualify for the pay. So you're not supposed to get it," Joe said. "[But] a lot of people were getting it."
Joe first noticed the problem of administrative employees receiving LEAP bonuses meant for field agents shortly after joining the ATF in 2016. He flagged these irregularities he noticed while working as an information specialist in the agency's human resources department, and reported these to his bosses.
But instead of being rewarded, Joe's supervisors retaliated against him. According to an ATF email reviewed by CBS News, the whistleblower's superiors were reportedly "upset" with the revelations about fraud in the agency.
His employee review was downgraded from "fully successful" to "minimally successful." Things came to a head when the whistleblower was fired from the agency last summer due to "unacceptable performance." Joe believes his termination stemmed from his discovery. (Related: Top whistleblower HEROES vilified as "traitors" and "domestic terrorists" by the highly corrupt U.S. Government and MSM.)
"If it's true, then it's a very significant amount of wasted tax dollars," said former Senate investigator Jason Foster, who reviewed CBS News' findings. Foster, who established the nonprofit Empower Oversight Whistleblowers and Research, continued: "It could be a waste of hundreds of millions of dollars if the same thing were happening throughout government."
A lawyer for the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) said last year that it found "a substantial likelihood of wrongdoing" at the ATF. The OSC is an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency whose mission is to investigate claims by whistleblowers such as Joe.
Meanwhile, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) performed an audit on ATF employees filing for and receiving LEAP bonuses. According to the audit results, at least 94 employees were receiving the bonuses despite not being entitled to them. As a result, the OPM stated that the agency under the Department of Justice engaged in "prohibited personnel practices" and suspended its ability to create specific jobs for "no less than six months."
The OPM did not state the fate of the ATF employees that were fraudulently receiving money despite being ineligible. It also remained silent on whether disciplinary action was ever taken. Moreover, the exact amount of LEAP money incorrectly paid out to administrative employees and the length of time the fraud has been going on inside the ATF remains unknown.
Four federal agencies involved in Joe's case declined to comment due to the ongoing investigation. An email from the OSC remarked that the final report is delayed, citing "broad implications" for the ATF. The latter did not respond to requests for comment sent by firearms news website AmmoLand.
One story from the website highlighted a leaked video conference call, where ATF Acting Director Marvin Richardson announced the agency's goal to double in size over the next five years. AmmoLand wrote: "Many in the gun world worry that this goal, along with the mismanagement of current funds, could affect gun rights and waste money."
"Some gun rights groups and government waste watchdogs see this uncovered fraud as yet another example of an out-of-control agency abusing its power and changing the rules as it sees fit. Many believe that the ATF works outside the law by changing definitions to meet its political goals and sees the firing of Joe as internal political payback."
Visit BigGovernment.news for more stories about fraud inside government agencies.
Watch this video about the ATF conducting illegal surprise inspections of people's homes.
This video is from the Chad Chaddington channel on Brighteon.com.