Thursday, February 11, 2010

SIGIR Identifies $340M Anomalous Transactions in Iraq Recon Funds

SIGIR might be winding down but it continues its forensic review of Department of Defense (DoD), Department of State (DoS), and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) expenditures. These reviews systematically examine Iraq reconstruction program expenditures to identify anomalies in transactional data that may indicate fraud, waste, or abuse. From its latest Interim Report (#2) dated January 28, 2010:

SIGIR’s Results to Date

51,000 | additional transactions reviewed by SIGIR
$17.3 billion | value of transactions reviewed by SIGIR
73,000 | total transactions reviewed todate
$28 billion | total value of transactions reviewed todate
$340 million | anomalous transactions identified
800 | approximate number vendors involved with anomalous transactions
27 | criminal investigations opened by SIGIR
36 | total subjects in criminal investigations opened by SIGIR

Anomalous transactions excerpted from the report:

Since our last report, SIGIR has reviewed an additional 51,000 transactions valued at $17.3 billion, bringing the total transactions reviewed to 73,000 transactions valued at $28 billion. We continue to identify numerous anomalous transactions, including payments that may be duplicates, payments to possibly fictitious or generic vendors, notable variances in payment activity, payments occurring prior to or on the date of invoice, and oddly sequential contractor invoices. We also identified payments to firms with what appear to be fictitious addresses, and payments to possibly suspended or debarred contractors.

To date, we have identified almost $340 million in anomalous transactions involving approximately 800 vendors that we are in the process of researching to determine if they are fraudulent or improper. To do this, we are examining the transactions and reviewing relevant contract file documentation. Due to the number of transactions that must be examined, we are prioritizing our work using risk factors such as transaction type and amount and whether there is a prior history of questionable activity. A SIGIR forensic audit team is currently focusing on possible duplicate payments associated with DoD expenditures. In addition, a SIGIR initiative that focuses on programs that afford easy access to cash associated with weak controls over expenditures continues to identify instances of questionable activity. As a result of this effort, to date SIGIR has opened 27 criminal investigations currently involving a total of 36 subjects. Detailed information regarding ongoing criminal investigations will not be presented in these reports.

The results of SIGIR’s forensic audit efforts will generally be reported in the aggregate and specific findings will be included where appropriate and useful. We are also providing lessons learned that can be applied to other contingency operations, such as in Afghanistan.

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