Vendor Radisson Hotel
Potentially fraudulent claim
Five conference participants claimed reimbursement for meals that were provided by the government.
The cardholder was authorized to purchase conference meals with the purchase card; however, the traveler claimed full per diem for a dinner meal that had already been paid for with the purchase card.
Fraudulent charges appeared on the account in August 2005 for an Internet dating Web service.
The cardholder properly disputed the charge and obtained a credit in September 2005.
However, the account was still open as of September 2006, even though the standard practice in a case of fraudulent use of a card would be to close the account; the cardholder was still using the account a year later.
Description of activity
Source: GAO analysis, investigation, and review of purchase card data and supporting documentation.
The following text further describes three of the fraudulent cases from table 4:
Case 1 involves a cardholder who embezzled over $642,000 from the Forest Service’s national fire suppression budget from October 10, 2000, through September 28, 2006. This cardholder, a purchasing agent and agency purchase card program coordinator, wrote approximately 180 checks to a live-in boyfriend with whom the cardholder shared a bank account. Proceeds from the checks were used for personal expenditures, such as gambling, car and mortgage payments, dinners, and retail purchases. Although the activities occurred repeatedly over a 6-year period, the embezzled funds were undetected by the agency until USDA’s Office of Inspector General received a tip from a whistleblower in 2006. In June 2007, the cardholder pled guilty to one count of embezzlement and one count of tax fraud. As part of the plea agreement, the cardholder agreed to pay restitution of $642,000. Further, in November 2007, the cardholder was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment followed by 36 months supervised release.
Case 2 involves a potential theft of government property. A Navy cardholder purchased 19 pilferable items totaling $2,200 from CompUSA without proper authorization or subsequent review of the purchase transaction. After extensive searches, the Navy provided evidence that only 1 of the 19 items listed on the invoice—an HP
GAO-08-333 Governmentwide Purchase Cards