On the Lookout: Review of the Fraud, Waste and Abuse Unit

LOS ANGELES — L.A. Controller Ron Galperin today released a report on his office’s ongoing efforts to prevent and identify fraud, waste and abuse at City Hall. Over the past two years, the Controller’s Fraud, Waste and Abuse (FWA) Unit completed 63 investigations into complaints received, substantiating 12 of them. One investigation aided a City department in the recovery of $3.5 million from a vendor that was paid for services the City never received.

The Controller’s office is responsible for investigating alleged misuse of City resources both proactively and as a result of complaints received. Examples of fraud, waste and abuse include the theft of City assets, payroll fraud, contract bid rigging, bribes, kickbacks and gross mismanagement, among other misdeeds. The most common type of complaint both years was employee theft of time.

“As stewards of the public’s trust, we have a responsibility to root out fraud, waste and abuse of City resources and do whatever we can to prevent it,” said Controller Galperin. “It’s important that honest people come forward and report problems when they see them. So long as even a few bad apples try to game the system, there is work to do. My office will continue to aggressively investigate fraud, waste and abuse to protect taxpayers and make our City stronger.”

In addition to the investigation mentioned above, Galperin’s FWA Unit accomplished the following:

  • Created FWA Unit liaisons in every City department to improve the reporting of complaints and assist with investigations.
  • Rolled out updated employee training to educate all 44,000 City employees about the dangers of fraud, waste and abuse and their duty to report it.
  • Discovered overbilling by a City contractor and sought reimbursement.
  • Detected false statements on City documents by a City employee and payroll time fraud within a City department.
  • Conducted multiple audits and reviews of departments’ financial practices to deter fraud and mismanagement.  

To read the full report, visit https://www.lacontroller.org/fwaunit.

City employees, contractors and anyone with information about mishandled public funds can submit a complaint through Galperin’s 24-hour fraud, waste and abuse telephone hotline at 866-428-1514 or online at lacontroller.org/fraud_hotline.

Follow L.A. Controller Ron Galperin at @LAController on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.