Tennessee Comptrollers Release Results of Their Waste, Fraud, and Abuse Hotline

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Some people may not know it, but if you see or know of waste, fraud of abuse in the local or Tennessee state governments then you can call a special hotline to report it.

The Tennessee Comptrollers Fraud, Waste & Abuse Hotline receiving received more than 1,000 notifications through this hotline between July 2018 and June 2019.

This, according to a report Comptrollers released last week.

“For fiscal year 2019, the hotline received 752 telephone calls and the online reporting website received 350 submissions. Of the 1,102 total notifications, 613 concerned substantive allegations of fraud, waste, or abuse,” according to the report.

“These notifications concerned a wide range of entities, including municipalities, counties, state agencies, federal agencies, and nonprofit recipients of government funds.”

Of the 613 notifications referred for action, responses have been received on 278, and these are considered closed. The remaining 335 are considered open, the report went on to say.

Among only some of the results the hotline has generated:

• Misappropriated Funds: The notification alleged a not-for-profit organization received a building at no cost. The notification also indicated that the organization’s director wrote a “hot check” on the organization and that $300,000 worth of nonprofit funds was missing. The subsequent investigation determined that the organization’s executive director misappropriated at least $46,335. Multiple deficiencies were noted within the organization including inadequate separation of duties, inadequate supporting documentation for disbursements, unmanaged bank records and accounts, and violations of the travel and expense reimbursement policy. The former executive director was indicted on 48 counts as a result of this investigation.

• Misuse of Insurance Benefits: The notification alleged misuse of government funds for insurance for a former employee’s spouse. The ensuing investigation determined that a lack of management oversight contributed to payroll deficiencies and deficiencies related to credit card purchases. Town officials indicated that they have corrected or will correct these deficiencies.

• Improper Invoices: The notification alleged improper labeling of invoices by county officials as well as inflated billing practices by contractors. The investigation determined that an HVAC vendor overbilled the county for the sale and installation of air conditioners. The vendor was indicted as a result of this investigation.

The hotline number is 1-800-232-5454.

People may also submit notifications to www.comptroller.tn.gov/hotline. 

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]

 

 

 

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