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A postmaster at USPS used his government purchase card to fraudulently subscribe to two Internet dating services over 15 consecutive months (April 2004 through October 2006). The monthly charges for these dating services were the only charges that appeared on the cardholder’s monthly statements during this period; yet each of these charges was authorized and paid for by USPS. The cardholder paid restitution of over $1,100 but faced no disciplinary action for this fraud.

From October 2000 through September 2006, a cardholder at the Department of Agriculture (USDA) fraudulently paid over $642,000 to a live-in boyfriend who shared the same bank account as the cardholder. The $642,000 was used for personal expenditures, such as gambling, car loan and mortgage payments, and other retail purchases. The activities took place over a 6-year period, but were not detected by the agency until a whistleblower reported the cardholder to the agency’s Office of Inspector General in 2006. The cardholder was sentenced to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of over $642,000.

One USDA cardholder used year-end funds to acquire a Toyota Sienna and a Toyota Land Cruiser totaling nearly $80,000. Although the purchases were made at the request of two Foreign Agricultural Service offices, the cardholder violated agency policy by failing to acquire a GSA waiver.20 The cardholder also used four convenience checks, purchasing the Toyota Sienna with one check and splitting the payment for the Land Cruiser into three separate checks because its purchase price exceeded the convenience checks’ maximum purchase limit. Although documentation from USDA showed that the vehicles were shipped overseas to the units that requested them, we did not perform additional work to determine whether these vehicles represented a valid government need.

One cardholder at DHS improperly bypassed competitive requirements of the FAR to purchase three personal computers totaling over $8,000. In this instance, the person who requested the computers provided the purchase cardholder with the specifications and a request that the items be purchased from the requesting individual’s preferred vendor. The cardholder did not apply due diligence by obtaining competitive quotes from additional vendors. Instead, the cardholder asked the requesting official to provide two “higher priced” quotes from

2048 C.F.R. § 13.104.

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GAO-08-333 Governmentwide Purchase Cards

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