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Fraud and Waste Hotline

29-Nov-2010 [247]

• Notes - AG Fraud and Waste Hotline Program Report for 2009

Part of Auditor

Notes on the Auditor General's Fraud and Waste Hotline Program for 2009

History of the Hotline

- “The Auditor General’s Office has administered the Fraud & Waste Hotline Program since its inception in 2002. In July 2005, a separate Forensic Unit was established within the Auditor General’s Office dedicated to the operation of the Hotline Program. The Forensic Unit is responsible for conducting and coordinating investigations or reviews directed at the detection of fraud, waste and wrongdoing involving City resources and reporting on the activity of the Hotline Program. In this context, the Auditor General’s Office may make recommendations which management is responsible for addressing.” - in some of its reports, the AG makes reference to the Bellamy Commission findings and recommendations

- the focus of the hotline is on fraud and wrongdoing by city employees who use public resources - it deals mostly with the conduct of individual people in cases of misappropriation of assets, conflict of interest, etc.

- the A.G's office screens all complaints and the AG conducts preliminary inquiries in some cases - however, it does not actually do most investigations; instead, they are referred to the city divisions themselves " Based on limited staff resources and the volume of hotline related work, the Auditor General’s Office is, by necessity, selective in the investigative work it conducts, including which investigations it will take a lead role in conducting. The majority of investigations are coordinated with divisional management. In these circumstances, divisional management takes the lead role in the investigation and where appropriate, the Auditor General’s Office provides advice and guidance or may participate in conducting part of the investigative work, such as conducting interviews." - The disposition of all complaints is reviewed and approved by senior staff in the Auditor General’s Office. p.12 -13

- complaints about city services are referred to 311, and followed up by the city division involved (p.13)

- last year, the hotline received 669 complaints - of these, - > 50% came from the on-line complaint form and calls to the Hotline - about 10% were referred by Councillors - 8% were referred to the Auditor General’s Office by City Divisions (p. 15)

- the 699 complaints led to ? investigations and resulted in:

- 23 cases of employee disclipline - in another 20 cases, " divisional management took other appropriate action including reinforcing workplace expectations through training" (p. 17)

- below is a table which summarizes the types of "substantiated complaints" (p. 23)

Nature of Substantiated Complaints Description
Conflict of Interest Directing City business to a company which employed the employee’s spouse
Private business run by City staff and employing City employees
Client employed as a live in caregiver by City employee
Fraud Misappropriation of City property
Employee accepting payments from homeowners for utility service upgrade grant
Misappropriation of cash deposits
False rebate application filed
Submission of false invoices
Misappropriation of City water
Improper Employee Conduct Employee authorizing own time sheets
Employee not following appropriate cash reconciliations leading to missing deposits
Permits being issued inappropriately
Unauthorized renovations to City facility
Irregular Benefit Claims Submitting false invoices for services not received
Irregular Employee Work Hours Duplicate timesheets submitted
Improper Purchasing Practices Repetitive purchases made using DPOs to circumvent purchasing policies
Misuse of City funds and resources Use of City phones for personal long distance calls
Use of City phones to call inappropriate phone lines
Use of City vehicles for personal use
Unauthorized use of City training materials by a private institution

- one complaint was interesting in the area of city facilities: "In April 2009, the Auditor General received a complaint through the Fraud and Waste Hotline alleging among other things, unauthorized renovations at a City facility. According to the complainant, the work, which was not tendered, was being completed by an outside contractor. The matter was reviewed by the Division. The Division found the renovation work was completed at no cost to the City and funded through donations generated by a program partner.

It was determined that polices and procedures regarding donations were not followed. Further, construction protocols, in place to prevent the City’s exposure to potential health and safety liabilities, were not followed.

The Division has ordered the inspection of the renovated site and reiterated policies and protocols with facility staff and staff in similar facilities."