Peace Corps referral results in successful criminal prosecution

The Peace Corps announced that its investigation and referral of a criminal case to the Department of Justice led to the successful prosecution of a former official charged with violating conflict of interest law.

Former Peace Corps employee Warren “Buck” Buckingham admitted to violating a criminal conflict of interest law and agreed to pay a $10,000 penalty as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

Buckingham, while working as a representative of a non-profit organization, admitted to influencing decisions on behalf of the organization in matters in which he was personally and substantially involved during his employment with the Peace Corps, a U.S. government agency.

The Peace Corps Office of Inspector General investigated the case in coordination with the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

“This is an example of collaboration at every level, and I deeply appreciate the hard work and vigilance of the Office of Inspector General,” said Acting Peace Corps Director Sheila Crowley.

Buckingham was the director of the Peace Corps Office of Global Health and HIV from 2010 to 2012. During his employment with the Peace Corps, Buckingham was involved in evaluating, approving, and monitoring a non-competitively awarded cooperative agreement between the Peace Corps and the non-profit organization. He was later employed by the organization and acted as the principal negotiator to obtain a follow-on agreement to the cooperative agreement between the Peace Corps and the organization.

Inspector General Kathy A. Buller said of the matter, “This investigation began because a member of the Peace Corps contracting staff saw something wrong and reported it to the Office of General Counsel. The Office of General Counsel then referred it to the Office of Inspector General. Their action led to our office investigating Buckingham’s behavior and allowed us to seek accountability.”

Acting Peace Corps Director Crowley commended the work of Inspector General Agents Joe Bodensteiner and Jennifer Pallotta, other Peace Corps staff, and Assistant U.S. Attorney John Marston.

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About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work with communities and create lasting change. Volunteers develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, community economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their Peace Corps experience, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today's global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 230,000 Americans of all ages have served in 141 countries worldwide.

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