Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 1 2
Results 11 to 15 of 15
  1. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    8,238

    Default Re: When is a Reimbursement Fraudulent

    Quote Quoting L-1
    View Post
    There is also another consideration. Because you are doing this as a private citizen, you do not have the immunities and indemnification afforded you that a public employee would have if they were doing this within the scope and course of their duties.
    However, the law of most states do provide a qualified immunity for reports of possible criminal wrongdoing to law enforcement. I don’t see this as a huge problem here. Moreover, truth is always a defense to a defamation claim, so if he sticks to the facts he’s uncovered, there’d be nothing for the state employees to pursue.

    I used to be a government employee myself, but for the federal government. I will tell you that at least in the agency in which I worked, improper travel claims were a big deal and employees who had a habit of submitting bad claims were at the very least fired and several that I knew of were prosecuted for it. One of those employees was close to retirement and as a result of his conviction he lost his pension, a very devastating result for him. A key factor in the cases referred to prosecution is that the evidence was quite clear that these employees were actually falsifying the data — they were clearly proven to have claimed expenses they never incurred. It’s a harder problem to convict for expenses that were actually incurred by the employee but the item involved is not one that is eligible for reimbursement. There, unless the employee tried to disguise the expense as something that was covered it would not likely be a criminal problem. Nevertheless, when I was a manager approving those expenses I cautioned employees that one of the fastest tickets to unemployment and possible prison in our job was messing around with the travel reimbursement.

    Whether the OK state government and the DA would take a similar dim view of improper travel reimbursements I cannot say. Each state and the federal government are different. The exact facts of each reimbursement claim matter, too, of course.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    1,279

    Default Re: When is a Reimbursement Fraudulent

    Taxing,

    I agree with everything you said, but the question that always that arises is, does the evidence support intentional falsification or can the employee defend this as unintentional error?

    However in this case, the OP's initial post sounded more like he lacked an understanding of common policy and practices and was attempting to substitute his personal philosophy for what may have been allowed by law. Trying to manufacture a criminal case based solely on one's personal philosophy rather than the law is fraught with peril.

    Since pointing that out, the OP amended his post to add additional allegations. More substantiation and information would be needed to evaluate his new charges. I am always wary of someone who does not make their entire case in the first place and only comes back with more when their initial allegations are challenged.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1,695

    Default Re: When is a Reimbursement Fraudulent

    I appreciate the warnings. Unfortunately, I am on a limited budget and cannot afford to hire an attorney to pursue this. I am interested in having the questionable activities stopped not in pursuing criminal charges even though some may rise to that level. This is why i have not gone to the DA already. The problem is how to make certain that happens when there are administrators at the agency who seem willing to ignore questionable activity if it results in more money for their department. There are potentially millions of dollars a year in additional revenues, savings, and diversion of funds saved from abusive spending practices to benefit the mission of the agency.

    L-1, It would be hard to present everything I have found since the printed evidence requires 3 file boxes, and I have started to file things electronically in lieu of paper. My philosophy is that I expect government employees to follow the law and the policies of the agency for which they work. There is no confusion as to the rules that need to be followed in terms of the travel and purchasing reimbursement policies. A $17,000+ purchase can be no way construed as being below the $5,000 small purchase limit. Copies of first class airline tickets arranged by the agency's travel service supplied with the reimbursement request for the other expenses are just that (agency published policy required that frequent flyer miles be used on additional agency travel not upgrades although later communications involving the travel services company indicates they do not strictly follow that rule), i.e in violation of the rules. The people processing the reimbursements have actually questioned some of the line items on claims that I thought were awfully large without employee supplied receipts (taxis for a 4 day trip for well over $500 for a meeting being held in entirety in one hotel). I still cannot figure out why it was necessary to go to NM from OK via San Francisco for the weekend or to Calgary via Philadelphia also for a family visit. Another purchase reimbursement request exceeding the limit was bounced (but eventually paid) not long after the employee joined the agency so that should have been enough to clue the employee in about the rules.

    There are numerous instances of required pre-travel authorizations missing or filed after completion of the travel; a multi-month visit to another agency's location does not happen overnight. Then there was the pre-travel authorization for one person for $6,000 that ended up costing nearly $24,000 for two (husband and wife). Several of the individuals involved can sign off on reimbursements for their subordinates in some cases; they better well know the rules if they are in that position or they place their subordinates at risk as well as themselves.

    Reimbursements to a non-employee for purchases charged to that individual's corporation's credit card and then submitted and reimbursed to the non-employee with the coding as for a purchase by an agency employee makes no sense; my request to find out who authorized that reimbursement is pending. If authorizing employee was the spouse and not the spouse's supervisor, this should be a big deal. In the past the employee has authorized payment to his own company for items purchased by one of his subordinates.

    At least they are no longer purchasing chemicals and having them delivered through the agency's intra-office mail delivery system. Well documented policy - and common sense - requires that purchases of chemicals go through a specialized purchasing office with delivery to a secured area.

    On the published overview, just two areas of the agency where the irregularities I have identified are occurring have shortfalls of income over expenses of 20-25% (around $3,000,000 last year). There are several other areas that I am actually more interested in because I believe the unrecovered income due the agency from companies owned by agency employees is even greater. Several years ago they wrote off about $2,000,000 due from a company with which an agency administrator had an outside employment relationship when the agency did not follow up aggressively on collections; the relationship and debt write-off is documented by both the agency and in the company's SEC filings.

    In looking at another agency, I have contracts involving another company, two state agencies - including the big problem, and a federal department. From what I can gleen, compliance with one contract violates another. The agency lawyers should be frightened about this possibility. Actually, the group creating some of the contracts needs an attorney on staff as well as someone familiar with the other common program requirements.

    The latest is (recall there serious hacking breaches of personal information lately) a direct linking from the website of the company owned by the wife of an agency employee into the agency's computer network via an application and data analysis program in the area of the agency employee husband. The IT security people should be scared to death of the possible breaches of personal data of tens of thousands of employees and people served by the agency. Despite repeated requests over time, there has been no contract provided granting the company use of this agency resource or any payments for any thing other than a time limited contract that expired years ago. Why am I concerned about this? I have family members with personal data at this agency.

    I want to hand off what I have found to the IG equivalent at the agency with the knowledge that my expectations are not unreasonable and that actions will be taken to stop the irregularities and increase the oversight on the self-serving, free spirits who seem to care little about rules pertaining to all. What I do not want to happen is to learn of a security breach when I have identified a serious problem and have tried to make the agency aware of it. The office that could do procedural as well as financial audits is part of the agency; the external auditors seem to deal with only financial data.

    I always look at the effective cost in relation to a quantity I can relate to- several weeks of a poverty level food budget for a person, a year of college tuition, a typical month's rent, etc. There is no reason for someone to go hungry because we are paying the personal cell phone bill for someone making $250,000+, tuition for 15 for another luxury payment, annual rent for two families for a summer abroad when the work could be done here at home,...

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,521

    Default Re: When is a Reimbursement Fraudulent

    Here's the thing you need to get your head around; for the sake of argument, let's assume for the moment that you are 100% correct about everything you think is going wrong and you report it.

    There is NOTHING you can do to force the authorities to act if they do not want to. Nor do they have to tell you why.

    For all you know they are already aware and are gathering evidence, and for you to force their hand is to damage the case they're already making.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1,695

    Default Re: When is a Reimbursement Fraudulent

    Quote Quoting cbg
    View Post
    Here's the thing you need to get your head around; for the sake of argument, let's assume for the moment that you are 100% correct about everything you think is going wrong and you report it.

    There is NOTHING you can do to force the authorities to act if they do not want to. Nor do they have to tell you why.

    For all you know they are already aware and are gathering evidence, and for you to force their hand is to damage the case they're already making.
    Bolded is very interesting point I had not considered.

    My question for those responders with experience in the area is: If a citizen has found so many actual irregularities at the agency, if you were aware of the areas in which FOIA type requests were being made by this citizen, would you also follow-up on those responses even though the citizen does not pursue them through formal channels? My thought is that I continue to follow the activities at this agency and make FOIA requests with copies to the IG equivalent officer, by including more supporting documentation with my request that the IG will use that information in their standard reviews within the organization.

    I know they have followed up on some concerns I expressed because there has been a change in conduct on the part of some of the peripheral players (At one time there were 8-10 in violation of - or close to - the small purchase limit and reimbursements for purchases to rewards cards for supplies in keeping with a home office rather than the agency. There is now only one high level supervisor/outside business owner doing so. A repeat of $24,000 summer vacation did not occur last year; I am watching for it this year. There have been no more first class air tickets and spouse traveliing. The personal days for work at another organization on agency trips have stopped; unfortunately, it appears that he is now traveling to that city without other meetings scheduled and is collecting the per diem. At least it is not an outright slap in the face of taxpayers paying for his travel. They are taking action, albeit in small ways; I still need more information on the big dollar abuses for a conclusive case which can be taken to the federal funding agency as well as the state agency.)

    If things do not improve, I still have others to go to. First the local appointee to the citizen committee overseeing the organization, then my representative at the legislature, reports of documented fraud to outside funding agencies, and finally the DA. Someone has to be concerned about the misuse/diversion of millions of state and federal funding.

    THANKS TO ALL FOR YOUR INSIGHT AND THE REALITY CHECK.

    1. Sponsored Links
       

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 1 2

Similar Threads

  1. Security Deposits: Landlord is Making Excessive Claims of Damage
    By Valkyrie1977 in forum Landlord-Tenant Law
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-19-2014, 10:07 AM
  2. Retail Fraud / Shoplifting: Accused of Making Excessive and Questionable Returns
    By Marissaclark126 in forum Criminal Charges
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 08-10-2013, 11:28 AM
  3. Denial & Appeals: How to Win an Unemployment Appeal, Ex-Employer Making False Claims
    By DRAGONFAIREY in forum Employment and Labor
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 06-11-2011, 07:52 AM
  4. Roommates: Ex-Roommate is Making Excessive Claim for Utilities
    By gemini in forum Landlord-Tenant Law
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 05-17-2011, 10:47 PM
  5. Personal Representative is Making Excessive Expense Claims to Father's Estate
    By strickland in forum Estate Planning, Administration and Probate
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-22-2010, 02:14 PM
 
 
Sponsored Links

Legal Help, Information and Resources