Purchase Cards:

Control Weaknesses Leave Two Navy Units Vulnerable to Fraud and Abuse

GAO-01-995T: Published: Jul 30, 2001. Publicly Released: Jul 30, 2001.

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This testimony discusses internal controls weaknesses that left two Navy units in San Diego, California, vulnerable to purchase card fraud and abuse. GAO found a proliferation of purchase cards at the two units in San Diego--the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command and the Navy Public Works. In the end, more than 1,700 cardholders essentially had the authority to make their own purchase decisions. A serious breakdown in internal controls over the receipt of government property and the certification of monthly statements, coupled with flawed or nonexistent policies and procedures and the failure of Navy employees to adhere to valid policies and procedures, led to (1) the loss, theft, and misuse of government property; (2) the potential abuse of purchase cards; and (3) payments of potentially fraudulent charges. Five fraud cases have already been identified, and the government remains extremely vulnerable to fraud, waste, and abuse arising from the purchase card program at the two Navy units. This testimony summarized the November report, GAO-02-32.

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