Florida officials told NBC News that authorities are now investigating how Orlando shooter Omar Mateen passed his psychological test to become a security guard, after the doctor whose name appears on his application said she never evaluated him.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the state agency responsible for issuing gun permits, approved Mateen for a Class G firearms license after he passed a character certification.
The character certification includes a section in which a psychologist must attest to the applicant’s mental and emotional stability. Mateen’s application says his test determined that “the employee is mentally and emotionally stable.”
On Saturday NBC News reported that Dr. Carol Nudelman, the psychologist whose name appears on Mateen’s gun permit, says she never administered or graded any psychological test for him. Mateen received his certification in 2007, but Nudelman said that by then she had already sold her practice and stopped conducting tests for Wackenhut, the security firm that hired Mateen.
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A spokesperson for G4S Secure Solutions USA Inc, which bought Wackenhut and continued to employ Mateen, confirmed Saturday that Nudelman had not evaluated Mateen, and said her name was added to the license application because of a clerical error that “failed to note the change in vendors scoring the exam.” G4S said a third-party vendor called HQPE had graded Mateen’s test.
“G4S has not been notified of a formal investigation,” a company spokesman said Monday evening. “However if and when we are, we will of course cooperate fully. What is important to note is that Omar Mateen completed the MMPI and it was evaluated fully by HQPE.”
The G4S spokesman said HQPE, or Headquarters for Psychological Evaluation, was the South Florida company that bought Dr. Nudelman’s practice, and that it was owned by a Dr. Joanne Bauling at the time.
The MMPI is a psychological evaluation that is commonly used to evaluate police officers and is the benchmark for psychological assessments.
Another G4S spokesman told NBC News on Saturday that the MMPI is a written test that is a scored by a psychologist, but it does not include an in-person interview.
Mateen achieved an above average rating on the MMPI and had a favorable recommendation for employment as an armed security officer, the spokesman said.
Bauling could not be reached for comment Monday evening.
But a lawyer for Nudelman said he welcomed a thorough investigation into how her name appeared on the certification form when she wasn’t even living in Florida at the time.
"The false use of Dr. Nudelman's name in connection with the certification of Mateen is outrageous and inexcusable,” lawyer L. Lin Wood said in a statement issued to NBC News. “My client fully supports an exhaustive investigation into this wrongful act."
Jennifer Meale, a spokesperson for the Agriculture Department , said, "We are currently conducting an investigation regarding the character certification submitted to the department."
Tom Winter is a New York-based correspondent covering crime, courts, terrorism and financial fraud on the East Coast for the NBC News Investigative Unit.
Josh Meyer is a reporter with the NBC News Investigative Unit. Meyer is an award-winning national security journalist and author and the McCormick Lecturer in National Security Studies in the the Medill School of Journalism’s Washington program. He was a reporter for 20 years at the Los Angeles Times and is the coauthor of “The Hunt for KSM: Inside the Pursuit and Takedown of The Real 9/11 Mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.”