The Fate of Clearance Applicants Who Lie

Gavel at rest

When applying for a security clearance, just about every aspect of your life gets scrutinized. You might worry that investigators will find something that disqualifies you, and that can lead to temptation: why not just lie about one or two small things that might get you in trouble? The fact of the matter is, lying at any point in your application is a big problem. You'll most likely get caught, and at best the fabrication will be a red flag to investigators. At worst, you can face prosecution.

Potomac Patch reports that a Potomac man is facing a $30,000 fine and three years of probation, six months of which include home detention, for lying on his clearance application. Gurpreet Singh Kohli worked for a defense electronics and weapons manufacturer and was required to get a security clearance. During the application process, Kohli tried to hide that he owned a separate company, NAVETC LLC, which worked primarily with Indian government, military, and defense agencies.

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Kohli attempted to downplay his involvement with NAVTEC, but investigators determined that he was actually responsible for the daily operation and decision-making of the company. He not only failed to report his involvement with NAVTEC to the other company, but he never disclosed his involvement with both when working with U.S. clients.

Although he later copped up to the deceptions and admitted to lying in two background checks, according to an FBI press release he was found guilty of obstructing agency proceedings by making false statements. Specifically, he "minimized the nature and scope of his activities with NAVETEC and under oath denied that he had any established foreign business contracts or associations with Indian government organizations." He also claimed that his only contacts in India were his relatives, and any connection to Indian governments or representatives were due to his relationship with the company that originally required him to obtain a clearance.

To make the situation worse, he also fibbed about his son's involvement with NAVTEC. Agents from the FBI and ICE Homeland Security questioned Kohli about the nature of the relationship between his son and NAVTEC, and again Kohli lied to minimize his sons participation with the company.

While Kohli's case is a bit extreme, it serves as an example of the thoroughness with which the OPM investigates clearance applicants, and the potential ramifications for those who try to hide the truth.

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