Corporate Compliance

GAO report: FBI can't account for designated fraud-fighting funds

Compliance Monitor, May 18, 2005

Despite FBI statements that the agency has put an allotted $114 million into fighting healthcare fraud, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) could not verify those figures because "the FBI did not have a system in place to capture its overall healthcare fraud investigation costs," the Associated Press (AP) reported May 16.

After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the FBI reportedly reassigned 321 agents from white-collar crime investigations to counterterrorism measures, the AP reported, prompting Sen. Charles Grassley, R-IA, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, to involve the GAO in an investigation. Without verification, it is unknown whether the FBI is doing as much to fight fraud as the government had been led to believe.

"It's inexcusable that the government cannot account for millions of dollars set aside to fight healthcare fraud," said Grassley, according to the AP. "Healthcare fraud is a big challenge, and big money is at stake."

The GAO's report on the investigation calls for the FBI to implement stronger controls on how it uses its allotted funds, which are transferred each year from the Medicare trust fund, the AP reported. The report also stated that improper Medicare payments amount to approximately $20 billion per year--a number that is expected to rise when the Medicare prescription drug insurance program takes effect in 2006.

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