Hi, everyone… New here but everyone seems really on-point, so thanks for that.
I have been working for the same USG contractor (same USG agency) since 2015, to include multiple deployments overseas. Recently, it was discovered that a bunch (like 20+) of us had never had our Public Trust clearances (I understand it is not a clearance, per se) done, and have only gone through the basic background check through Sterling (the vendor our company uses). So, I completed everything the same day on e-QIP, submitted my OF306, and my SF85P Supplement Form, and got them all the documents they requested.
My employment history is stellar, never been fired, no disciplinary actions, multiple public awards and commendations. I have been a Fire-EMS officer for 19 years and have been through a myriad of background checks for all the local/state agencies I have worked for. My concern is the following (would it DQ me from a Moderate Risk Public Trust?):
-2010 arrest because I would not re-kindle things with an ex-girlfriend, so she made up some very serious claims against me. All charges were dropped immediately following arraignment after I was able to refute all the accusations and prove my whereabouts at the times in question and showed proof of her incessant attempts to contact me; she was actually charged with filing false reports, perjury, etc.
-2011 arrest because I was working on some electronics in my shop that were brought to me for repair/reprogramming by a customer, who had himself stolen them. Was charged with possessing stolen items and a few other things that are only crimes if you have certain things on you “during the commission of another crime”. All charges were again dropped when the customer admitted that I knew nothing about where the items had come from. I had to go in front of a review board for both of these incidents to keep my State certifications and was absolved of any wrongdoing and was never stopped from practicing/working in any capacity.
-$4,000 in student loans I am attempting to get forgiven through the “Public Service Loan Forgiveness” program
-$8,000 in Federal income tax that I am working on paying back with the IRS and an attorney through the “Offer In Compromise” program. These back-taxes stemmed from some (now admittedly) terrible advice I received from a financial planner/advisor.
-I am a dual-citizen of the United States and United Kingdom (holding passports for both - never traveled on my UK one) through my parents being born there.
There were no questions on any of the forms that pertained to the 2010 and 2011 arrests since there were no convictions and all of the questions were about convictions or arrests “within the past 7 years”, but obviously it will appear on my tenprint through the FBI (I just got my FBI one done for my newest certification), but I was open and honest about the student loan and tax stuff. Thoughts? Thank you all for your time and for what you do.
The domestic violence arrest and the federal taxes are your problems. Time will have mitigated the arrest, if it is how you say, no convictions, no repeated behavior, etc.
Your taxes need to be in repayment and not just thinking about it or talking to the IRS. An actual plan, with monthly payments and a known payoff date will help mitigate.
Be ready to discuss both in detail.
@fed-investigator - Thank you very much for the reply and for taking the time. Definitely no convictions and have never had anything like that said about me before or since; I hadn’t seen that ex in nearly a year and had been ignoring her calls/texts for months, and then one very early morning I woke up to 6 police cars (not exaggerating or embellishing) outside my house; it was ridiculous, but I knew I had done nothing wrong and my reputation and character would speak for itself. Regarding the taxes, I haven’t taken one cent of an income tax refund in years and have selected to apply my refund to those back taxes instead. Do you recommend I just keep making weekly/monthly payments while this “Offer In Compromise” process is ongoing to show that I do indeed want to make it right? I am certainly ready and willing to talk about any/every aspect of everything, so no worries there. Thanks again for your time.
If you have made an offer to the IRS and they haven’t responded, you are doing what you should. You aren’t ignoring the problem. You are actively working to resolve it.
An offer in compromise is, if I’m not mistaken, an offer to pay less than owed. It’s similar to settling with a creditor for less than is owed and is often if you are in serious financial health that paying it would create a hardship.
An installment plan is something you can request and it will automatically be granted for that amount, often within 30 days of applying. You don’t need a tax lawyer for requesting an installment agreement either. It can be spread over 5 years, with interest of course. But it’s a better mitigation than trying to pay less than owed unless you truly can’t afford even monthly payments for the $8000 owed.
There are many reasons for an offer in compromise. Actually, far more than there are for settling a credit card debt in the same way. I’m sure that the OP knows the difference between an offer in compromise and a payment plan. You don’t, in fact, need a lawyer for either but since the OP is working with a lawyer, there may be more here than we can see.
I will stand with the idea that an offer that has not been responded to is still working to settle the debt.
@EdFarmerIII and @sapguy - The main rason why I went to a lawyer and didn’t try to do it myself or go with a CPA is because of the events leading up to it, which was the aforementioned horrible advice of a so-called “professional” advisor/planner. Also, I didn’t want to have to try to juggle that whole process in a realm with which I am totally unfamiliar, so I figured hiring a professional would be the most prudent way to go. I sincerely appreciate everyone’s time and input/insight.
@fed-investigator @EdFarmerIII @sapguy
Today I received an email from a Personnel Security Specialist that had a link to download a “Letter of Interrogatory”. The issues it was outlining were “Criminal/Dishonest Conduct (Financial Irresponsibility)” and they want documentation to go along with the things I noted in my SF85P. Is this still a preliminary part of the process?
An LOI means there are unresolved issues that are disqualifying and have asked for more information to see if the issues can be mitigated before a final determination is made. I suggest you read the LOI carefully and respond to each issue honestly with as much detail as you can provide along with any supporting documents that corroborate your response.
Thanks so much for the reply and information, Marko. I just got notified that I have my Interim Favorable and the process will move forward.
I was advised today that the Investigation portion of my Public Trust process was completed and it is moving on to Adjudication, but none of my family/references/employers were contacted, so I am confused? Is that normal?
Not knowing who was contacted is not unusual. Also, your family/friends/employer are not obligated to tell you who was contacted.
(hint: the employers were contacted as a minimum)
I absolutely concur with your statement that not knowing who is contacted is not unusual. While I know that nobody is obligated to tell me (which that is a very odd statement IMO), I am still very close with all of my previous employers just because the nature of our business, to include our HR folks and my previous command staff, and I can say with certainty that none of them were contacted. Regarding my friends/references/family, many of them have a Secret or better and we are always in touch when any one of us are pinged or going to be pinged for something like this so we all know to expect a call and that is isn’t a scam or something like that.
Just wanted to toss an update in here… I received my final favorable adjudication last week!
So I am deployed right now, and I just got a very non-descript email from the Personnel Security Specilist who was handling my adjudication, asking when I would be returning to the US. If they were pulling my clearance/status for some reason, would they be asking such a thing, or would it just happen and I would be on a plane back to the states? Is there anyone who could look in JPAS for me and tell me if I am flagged for some reason? Nothing has changed with me, and I’ve been deployed for over 2 months now.
Some agencies specifically state they will not communicate with applicants while they are abroad, for security reasons. I understand that you are not an applicant, but the reasoning might be the same.