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MSPB: Credit Card Misuse Charges

MSPB: Credit Card Misuse Charges

One very serious situation for Federal employees are allegations that the employee misused a government credit card.

The scenario that commonly arises usually involve a government credit card or travel card holder who makes a purchase which is not authorized. Most commonly, this type of discipline involves employees who allegedly purchase a personal item using their government credit card. Other times, it involves charges on a card or cash advances that exceed the pre-travel estimation.

In any of these cases, the Agency is not required to prove that you actually intended to misuse the card – only that your use was not authorized. For example, the MSPB upheld a 30 day suspension for a 17 year veteran and supervisory employee who absent-mindedly used his government credit card to purchase a set of tires for his POV.

“Misuse” cases are notoriously difficult for an employee to overcome – particularly if they have notice of what types of purchases may or may not be permitted. In one case, an employee’s removal was sustained because he purchased a single tank of gas for his POV on his government gasoline card.

Typically, the employee’s best chance in credit card misuse cases lies in the Douglas Factors. When one employee showed that he had a long and unblemished career, and his supervisor had condoned his use of a government card to reimburse the employee for out-of-pocket travel expenses, the MSPB mitigated the employee’s removal to a 30-day suspension.

If you have been charged with misuse of a government credit card, travel card or gasoline card, you should consult with an attorney familiar with the MSPB before proceeding. If you would like to consult with an attorney at the Law Offices of Eric L. Pines, PLLC regarding your MSPB appeal or disciplinary action, please contact the Firm today.