Travel Cards:

Control Weaknesses Leave Army Vulnerable to Potential Fraud and Abuse

GAO-02-863T: Published: Jul 17, 2002. Publicly Released: Jul 17, 2002.

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Gregory D. Kutz
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In fiscal year 2001, the Army had 430,000 individually billed travel card accounts, and about $619 million in related charges. Most Army cardholders properly used their travel cards and promptly paid amounts owed. However, the Army's delinquency rate is higher than any other Department of Defense (DOD) component or executive branch agency. GAO also identified numerous instances of potentially fraudulent and abusive activity related to the travel cards. During fiscal year 2001, at least 200 Army employees wrote three or more nonsufficient funds or "bounced" checks to Bank of America as payment for their travel bills--potentially fraudulent acts. GAO found little evidence of documented disciplinary action against Army personnel who misused the card, or that Army travel program managers or supervisors were even aware that travel cards were being used for personal use. For fiscal year 2001, the Army had significant breakdowns in key internal controls over individually billed travel cards that stemmed from a weak overall environment, flawed policies and procedures, and a lack of adherence to valid policies and procedures. These breakdowns contributed to the significant delinquencies and charge-offs of Army employee account balances and potentially fraudulent and abusive activity related to the travel cards. DOD has taken a number of actions focused on reducing delinquencies. As a result of these actions, Army experienced a significant drop in charged-off accounts in the first half of fiscal year 2002.

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