Monday, August 3, 2015

Government Ignores Potential Fraud: My Experience with HHS

Liberty Blitzkrieg reported:

Federal prosecution of individuals identified by the government as white collar criminals is at its lowest level in the last twenty years, according to the latest data from the Justice Department

The decline in federal white collar crime prosecutions does not necessarily indicate there has been a decline in white collar crime. Rather, it may reflect shifting enforcement policies by each of the administrations and the various agencies.
I had a personal experience with this that culminated last week.  On August 4, 2013 I submitted a fraud concern to the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services.  I shared information that a local agency had fraudulently applied for and gotten nearly $900,000 in federal grant funds through a Section 1115 Medicaid Waiver grant.  On October 7, 2013 I spoke with an investigator who said they would refer it to their boss.  I heard nothing for fifteen months.

I submitted a public information request on the status of my complaint on March 2, 2015.  I wrote them at the time:

I reported my concern of fraud as an ethical citizen.  I truly wish to learn the outcome of the investigation.  The pursuit of rewards is ever so degrading and distasteful, especially when one enters a maze of complexity and obfuscation.  I hoped the government would view me as a partner in a serious matter.  

Staff said they had nothing to share as the case was "under review."  They gave me the impression it was being actively investigated and I could check back later.  I inquired again on July 17th and received a document on July 20, 2015.  The information said the case was closed on November 11, 2013.

I gave them information that clearly showed a grant applicant violating more than one requirement to receive federal funds, doing so with arrogance and impunity.  Investigators didn't have to do much, just affirm in public records, minutes and video, the admissions of agency leaders that they willfully ignored federal requirements in crafting and submitting their application for HHS funding.

I was shocked by their callous lack of interest and by their defensiveness when questioned in the most basic way.  Now I know why.  Government is a fast track for pushing out money.

Update 1-15-16:  Zero Hedge illuminated one possible reason for my experience.