U.S. News

Defense worker charge cards used for $1 million in casinos bills: audit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Department employees used their government credit cards to pay for more than $1 million worth of casino and adult entertainment purchases over the course of a year, an audit of transactions by the Pentagon inspector general has found.

Pentagon officials said on Thursday that use of credit cards to pay for personal transactions is considered misuse of the cards but does not mean a loss of taxpayer funds because cardholders are billed individually and have to pay unauthorized personal charges themselves.

The audit, which covered July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014, is due out in the coming weeks and has not yet been publicly released, officials said.

It found Defense Department cardholders likely used their travel cards for 4,437 transactions at casinos where they spent $952,258. They had an additional 900 transactions at adult entertainment establishments, spending $96,576.

A Pentagon spokesman said card misuse was a tiny fraction of the overall total, about three-hundredths of one percent. The department has about 1.6 million card holders. During the year of the audit, they paid for about $3.4 billion in expenses with their cards.

“Clearly the behavior displayed by these individuals neither comports with our values nor represents the good service of the vast majority of our service members or ... civilians,” the spokesman said.

He said the individuals would be held accountable. Action has been taken in 364 cases and 79 more are pending action, he said.

Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Bernard Orr