Federal Transit Benefits Program: Ineffective Controls Result in Fraud and Abuse by Federal Workers

GAO-07-724T Published: Apr 24, 2007. Publicly Released: Apr 24, 2007.
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Under the federal transit benefits program, federal employees receive transit benefits (e.g., Metrocheks) to encourage them to commute to work via public transportation. Based on information provided by the Department of Transportation, as of July 2006, the National Capital Region had 120,000 participants claiming roughly $140 million in benefits. Recently, inspectors general (IG) of various agencies have found numerous prior instances of fraud, waste, and abuse in this federal program. Based on both the significance of these IG findings and the amount of federal money spent on transit benefits, GAO was asked to (1) investigate allegations that federal employees in the National Capital Region are involved in fraud and abuse related to the transit benefits program, (2) identify the potential causes of any fraud or abuse that is detected, and (3) estimate the magnitude of fraud and abuse in the National Capital Region in 2006. To address these objectives, GAO identified federal employees selling their transit benefits on the Internet and obtained additional data from these sellers' employing agencies to determine whether more widespread problems existed. GAO also obtained the policies and procedures governing the transit benefits program at each of the employing agencies.

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