Fraud, Waste and Abuse
In an effort to promote honesty, efficiency and public confidence in government and its representatives, the Audit Services Division investigates allegations of fraud, waste and abuse in Milwaukee County government operations. These allegations could involve county employees, elected officials, vendors, contractors and program participants. Employees and members of the public who report allegations of misconduct are essential to minimizing instances of fraud, waste and abuse.
What Is Fraud, Waste and Abuse?
Fraud is gaining something of value through willful misrepresentation. The person intended to provide untrue information in order to get something. Fraud may include:
- An employee punches in at work and then goes home until it is time to punch out, meaning the employee gets paid while not actually doing the employee’s job
- A person does not report accurate income or family information to the County or provides other information to the County that the person knows is not true in order to get public assistance
- A contractor knowingly sends invoices for payment to a county department for services which were not performed
Waste is squandering of money or resources, even if not explicitly illegal. Waste is hard to spot as waste can be subjective. Waste occurs when county resources are not managed or not used efficiently to fulfill the county’s mission. Waste may include:
- A department gets rid of equipment rather than sell it for scrap or to another organization if the equipment is still useful
- A manager assigns five employees to complete an assignment when one employee is enough
- Food, medicine or other items are not properly stored so that the goods spoil or are no longer useable, having to be thrown away
Abuse is behavior that is deficient or improper when compared with behavior that a prudent person would consider reasonable and necessary business practice given the facts and circumstances or misuse of authority or position for personal financial interests or those of an immediate or close family member or business associate. Abuse may include:
- An employee awards a county contract to a company that is owned by the employee’s spouse without disclosing the relationship
- An employee attempts to or uses his or her county title or authority to get something for free or for less than a reasonable amount
- A county official accepts a bribe which influences the official’s government actions
The Audit Services Division does not investigate:
What to Include
When making a report, provide dates, times, names, the person’s role in Milwaukee County, locations, possible witnesses, equipment or vehicles used and any other information that will help in an investigation.
You may remain anonymous when reporting fraud, waste or abuse in Milwaukee County! If you wish to remain anonymous, we recommend that you use the Fraud Reporting Form to submit your concerns. You may also make a report by telephone, email, mail or fax. Be aware that your contact information may be associated with those reports. However, if you state in your phone call, email, letter or fax that you wish to remain anonymous as a condition of providing information, we will keep your report confidential to the greatest extent possible under the law.
What Happens to Complaints
Complaints of alleged fraud, waste and abuse are reviewed to determine the best response to the complaint. The review process considers a number of factors such as the provided information, the impact the alleged actions have on county operations and the use of investigation resources. Generally, there are three options for responding to a complaint: open an investigation, refer to a more appropriate office, department or agency or decline to take further action for one or more reasons.
Investigation generally has two outcomes: Substantiated, meaning that the evidence supports that the alleged fraud, waste or abuse occurred; or unsubstantiated, meaning that the available evidence cannot support that the alleged fraud, waste or abuse occurred. An investigation may be administratively closed, meaning the investigation is closed for one or more reasons prior to reaching a determination.
Call the Fraud Hotline Email Fraud Reporting Form
633 West Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 904
Milwaukee, WI 53203
Phone: (414) 933 -7283 (414) 93-FRAUD
Fax: (414) 223-1895
Downloadable PDF with information on reporting fraud and other crimes