Fraud, Waste and Abuse Annual Report
2023 City of Los Angeles
Our Fraud, Waste, and Abuse (FWA) Unit works to protect your tax dollars by deterring fraud, waste, and abuse in City government.
Our work isn't easy - our FWA Unit has four staff members to oversee the entire City of LA, which consists of more than 40 City departments, over 50,000 employees, and a budget of almost $35 billion.LA City:
Nearly $35 billion budget
4 staff members
4 FWA investigators is a very small team compared to other local governments' fraud units, based on # of employees and budget.
Average FWA cases received:
The two years with the highest recorded cases (2019 and 2021) coincided with the release of an updated FWA bi-annual training for City employees.
FWA Case Intake
The FWA Unit can receive cases from any City Department/Office or employee, and any member of the public, through our Fraud Hotline bit.ly/controllerfwa/ 866-428-1514.
94% of cases in 2022 were received through the Fraud Hotline.
Whistleblowers can be anonymous.
2022 Reporter Anonymity:
- Anonymous: 62%
- Not Anonymous: 38%
City Departments and Offices are required to report possible FWA cases within 10 days of discovery. In 2022, departments that reported were: Building and Safety, Economic and Workforce Development, Fire, Recreation and Parks, and Water and Power.
Cases can be determined to be:
- Outside FWA Unit's jurisdiction (May be referred to other entities)
- Non-FWA investigative matters (Referred to other City jurisdictions)
- FWA investigative matters (FWA Unit and/or City department to investigate
Case Analysis by Issue Type
Violations or abuse of City policy was the leading issue reported, comprising 12 of the 49 cases that required an investigation.Leading issues:
- Violations or abuse of City policy (12 cases)
- Misuse of City Position (11 cases)
- Payroll Fraud (9 cases)
Case Analysis by Department:
This table provides an overview of case metrics by department for cases requiring investigation or further review.
2022 Case Outcomes
We reviewed several claims of payroll fraud.
For confirmed allegations, departments' resulting disciplinary actions varied (1 employee resigned; 1 was not penalized). City policy specifies falsifying city records should result in discharge.
Violations or Abuse of City Policy
A manager was allowing employees to receive bonuses for expired certifications.
The department is in the process of informing the employees they will not receive a bonus until they re-certify and will be required to repay bonuses received.
Misuse of City Position
A City employee was trying to get discounted services for themselves from a commercial customer of the City in exchange for the employee continuing to assist with their City customer account.
The department fired the employee.
Theft of City Resources
An employee had an excessive # of cash payment refunds that were unexplained and unaccounted for.
The employee was terminated.