Cases Provide Additional Examples of Improper or Potentially Fraudulent Inspections
indication that the contractor had made three attempts to perform a complete inspection. We analyzed a statistical sample of 250 from a population of about 170,000 inspections submitted by the MD contractors and paid for by FEMA from June 2006 through January 2007. Table 3 shows the results of our sample.23
Table 3: Results of Statistical Sample of Paid Preventative Maintenance Inspections
Total paid inspections selected in sample Total inspection sheets meeting criteria Total improper or potentially fraudulent inspections Travel trailer or mobile home not found in FEMA’s database Inspection sheet did not exist
250 120 130 20 43
Inspection sheet did not contain occupant signature or notation that three inspection attempts had been made
Source: GAO analysis of FEMA data.
Even if payments were supported by proper inspection documentation, we found indications that the paid-for inspections were not always performed. As shown by the following three cases, we confirmed allegations that inspectors performed impossibly large numbers of inspections in 1 day or otherwise falsified maintenance inspection documentation. We have referred all three of these matters to the Department of Justice and the DHS IG for further investigation and we have notified the Katrina Fraud Task Force about our findings.
Case 1: We confirmed that inspectors for one contractor billed and were paid for excessive numbers of inspections that supposedly took place during the course of 1 work day. As previously stated, MD contractors are responsible for interior and exterior unit inspections. These inspections include checking the plumbing, electrical, and heating and cooling
23Consistent with the findings issued in our December 2006 testimony, we also discovered that FEMA potentially made improper rental assistance payments to some of the residents of the trailers that were part of our statistical sample. Specifically, the Stafford Act prohibits FEMA from providing rental assistance payments under IHP if temporary housing has been provided by any other source. However, we found that FEMA approved payments for rental assistance to 31 households after they had already moved into the trailers. We found an additional 11 households who did not return excess rental assistance to FEMA before moving into a trailer. The improper payments associated with these 42 occupants totals $54,608. See GAO, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Disaster Relief: Continued Findings of Fraud, Waste, and Abuse, GAO-07-252T (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 6, 2007).
GAO-08-106 Hurricane Katrina