On the Lookout: Fraud, Waste and Abuse Q1 Report

2020 La Controller

Fraud, Waste and Abuse Quarterly Report

Report for the Quarter Ending March 31, 2020

Key Figures

FWA Activity

For the quarter beginning January 1, 2020, and ending March 31, the Controller’s Fraud, Waste and Abuse (FWA) Unit received 132 new cases and closed 120 cases. As of the end of this quarter, the FWA Unit has a total of 84 open cases.

The FWA Unit’s evaluation of the 132 cases received between January and March 2020 determined that 78 (59 percent) were outside the FWA Unit’s jurisdiction and did not merit any further action. Of the remaining cases, the FWA Unit referred 19 to other City departments or agencies. Thirty-five cases were deemed to require an investigation: 22 were referred to departments, and the FWA Unit retained jurisdiction over 13 for further review.

During this quarter, the FWA Unit closed 120 cases. Seventy-nine were found to be outside the FWA Unit’s jurisdiction and did not merit further action. Of the 41 other cases closed, 25 were non-FWA investigative matters requiring department action. The FWA Unit found the complaint allegations to be unsubstantiated in 13 cases and substantiated in three.


Examples of Cases Closed this Quarter

  • Accounting Irregularities: An employee did not follow proper departmental procedures for cash handling and reporting which was identified during the cash reconciliation process. The department promptly investigated the variance and located the funds that were not stored in the proper cash vault. The employee was disciplined and provided additional training. The department made updates to the cash handling process as a result of the investigation.
  • Unreported Outside Employment: A department pursued personnel action against an employee for failing to report outside employment.

Theft of time was the leading type of issue reported for cases received during the quarter, which accounted for nine of the 32 cases determined to require an investigation or additional review.

The breakdown of cases requiring investigation or review by departments and the number of cases referred to departments for action are as follows:



This quarter, the majority of cases received were reported anonymously. Most cases were received through the Controller’s Fraud Hotline through the web intake form or hotline phone calls. A small number of additional cases were received via email, U.S. mail or in-person.

The FWA Unit has received 132 cases for both the first quarter of the year in 2020 and 2019, compared to receiving 78 cases during the same period in 2018. The increase in cases received in the first quarter of 2019 was attributed to the enhanced Fraud Awareness Training deployed to all City departments and offices, combined with the FWA Unit’s outreach and in-person FWA training given to employees.