Contractors charged with padding tab for drug abuse prevention ads

The U.S. Attorney's office in New York City has charged two former employees of a federal contractor with overbilling the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy while carrying out an advertising contract in 1999 and 2000.

The two advertising executives, Shona Seifert and Thomas Early, worked for the New York City-based public relations firm Ogilvy & Mather, which last year was forced to settle charges that it had overbilled the drug office by nearly $2 million. But the settlement did not preclude the criminal investigation, which led to the charges. The indictments were first reported Tuesday on the Web site of Advertising Age magazine

According to Advertising Age, Seifert and Early are accused of telling Ogilvy staffers to inflate the number of hours worked on the ONDCP account on their time sheets. If convicted of all the charges, they could both face up to five years in prison and $2.75 million in fines. Since Congress authorized the drug office to create an anti-drug media campaign in 1997, the agency has spent more than $1 billion.

Seifert and a lawyer for Early have denied the charges.

Ogilvy oversaw the placement of ads for the drug office on television and produced some memorable spots, including a series of ads that linked drug use to the funding of terrorism. In July 2002, even after the settlement, Ogilvy won a one-year contract extension based on open bidding overseen by the contracting office of the Navy, which handled the bidding for the drug office.

Then Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., led an effort to end the contract later that year. But the effort foundered. In December 2003, with Senate legislation pending that would have cut off Ogilvy's contract, ONDCP Director John Walters opted not to renew the contract for another year.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.