After a fraud case resulting in prison time for a subcontractor, the Energy Department’s Office of Inspector General recommends URS-CH2M Oak Ridge (UCOR) strengthen financial audits of firms employed to support cleanup of the Oak Ridge Site in Tennessee.
The manager of the DOE Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management, Jay Mullis, agreed more in-depth reviews are needed following the scandal involving Transportation, Operations, and Professional Services (TOPS). Most of the recommendations outlined in an IG report publicly released this month should be implemented within the new few months, Mullis said in his formal response to the findings.
After UCOR was awarded the prime contract in 2011 for cleanup of the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), the site of former uranium enrichment operations, TOPS landed a subcontract for waste transportation services to the ETTP project in June of that year.
The former principal of TOPS, Joseph Anthony Armes, was sentenced in 2018 to just over a year in prison for using an elaborate system of phony invoices and cash payments to defraud the government of more than $2.3 million. He was convicted in 2016.
In its report, the DOE IG said it wants agency management in Oak Ridge to order a deeper look at TOPS’ entire $30.7 million subcontract work between fiscal 2014 and fiscal 2016. Oak Ridge remediation contractor UCOR, which had already done an initial audit, should question any expenses lacking adequate supporting documents.
As the cleanup contractor for Oak Ridge, UCOR is required to either do its own audit or arrange for audits of its subcontractors when evaluating expenses of the firms.