GAO Fraud Hotline

T-OSI-88-3: Published: Apr 19, 1988. Publicly Released: Apr 19, 1988.

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GAO discussed its 9-year experience with its fraud hotline in combatting fraud, waste, and abuse in federal expenditures. GAO found that: (1) as of January 1988, it received more than 94,000 calls; (2) it referred about 14,000 cases to other federal agencies, which closed 11,250 cases; (3) there were 146 substantiated cases, which resulted in 47 convictions; (4) the Departments of Health and Human Services and Defense received about half of the referred cases; (5) 25 percent of the callers were federal employees and 7 out of every 10 callers wanted to remain anonymous; (6) 40 percent of the allegations concerned federal employee work-hour abuse, theft, and private use of government property; and (7) of the substantiated cases, 50 percent involved federal employees, 25 percent involved federal contractors, and 20 percent involved recipients of federal financial assistance. GAO also found that the elements that made the hotline successful included: (1) a clear statement of objectives; (2) a sufficient number of staff with interview skills and program knowledge; (3) caller confidentiality; (4) internal caller classification guidelines; (5) allegation investigation policies; and (6) monitoring procedures. GAO believes that the success of its hotline encouraged various federal, state, and local agencies to establish hotlines.

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