United States Marshals Service's Use of Independent Contractors as Guards

Audit Report 05-24
May 2005
Office of the Inspector General

Other Reportable Matters

We noted internal control weaknesses with regard to the handling of guard-issued identification (ID) cards at 4 of the 7 sites reviewed. Poor accountability for property, such as ID cards, increases the risk that property lost or stolen may be used to gain unauthorized access to federal facilities.

  • District 1: The district issues ID cards to contract guards, which provides them access to USMS space. The district did not follow USMS policy or procedures to deactivate the cards.

  • District 3: Contractors were issued ID cards and swipe cards, and at least eight of the contractors were issued keys. However, we were able to verify only one instance in which the issuance of property was recorded on a hand receipt.

  • District 4: USM-288A Hand Receipt forms were not issued to the contract guards along with their government ID cards. District officials explained that hand receipts were not issued because they did not believe they were required. However, district officials stated that the ID cards, which are issued on an annual basis, are collected and destroyed at the end of the fiscal year.17

  • JPATS (Oklahoma City): ID and swipe cards are issued along with uniforms. Upon return, the ID card is destroyed and the swipe card is recycled and issued to a new guard. JPATS maintains a list of the guards issued uniforms. However, only ten percent of the guards reviewed were given hand receipts for their ID and swipe card.


  1. USMS Directives under Property Management 7.1.D.4.e states that accountable property must be controlled by the use of a hand receipt and that all accountable property must be retrieved from contract guards when their contracts expire or is not renewed. In addition, ID cards will be hand receipted annually on an USM-288A Hand Receipt. ID cards given to contract guards must be retrieved when the contract expires or the guards' services are no longer needed.

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