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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77524 Find in a Library
Title: Theft, Fraud and Waste in Government
Author(s): E J Criscuoli
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 8
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This speech describes several cases of serious fraud and abuse in government, particularly in welfare programs, and then recommends corrective measures.
Abstract: For a long time, white-collar crime has been acknowledged as a problem in the private sector, but theft, fraud, and abuse in government costs the taxpayers billions of dollars. This situation breeds a general contempt and loss of confidence in government and could bankrupt the economy if left unchecked. Medicaid fraud is reported to exceed $1 billion from such schemes as providers billing for unnecessary services or services that have not been performed. Welfare recipients abuse this program by receiving payments while employed or receiving funds for individuals no longer residing in the household. Individuals may misrepresent their income in order to be eligible for food stamps or may sell the stamps for cash or drugs. Examples of official corruption include collusion in bidding for government contracts, kickbacks to government officials, padding costs of materials, cost overruns, and hiring associates who formerly worked in government. In one State, the annual bill for its purchases dropped by 40 percent when corrupt officials receiving kickbacks were exposed. Assistance programs have been lucrative targets for white-collar criminals. For example, members of an Oklahoma Indian tribe bilked the tribe of over $500,000 of Federal assistance funds. The Community Services Administration, which administers Federal antipoverty programs, has come under attack by Congress for the questionable ways it has spent some funds. The theft of the taxpayers' money can be prevented by security measures and swift prosecution of offenders. Federal strategies to combat white-collar crime should be better coordinated with the private sector and local law enforcement agencies. Stiff fines and long prison terms would be effective deterrents, and security over government personnel and property should be improved, particularly in the computer area. Federal employees should be encouraged to report fraud and abuse, and the Office of the Inspector General should not be politicized. The paper provides 12 references.
Index Term(s): Abuse of authority; Corruption of public officials; Federal government; Fraud; Government contracting; Program abuse; State government; White collar crime
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