posted on Dec, 8 2017 @ 08:59 AM
I'm all for an audit. When I was in the Air Force I witnessed plenty of FWA (Fraud, Waste and Abuse). The sad part was, most of it was non-malicious.
It wasn't anyone doing something wrong on purpose. It was mostly caused by inefficient processes and regulatory red tape. In some instances,
regulations that were designed to prevent FWA actually wound up causing it. I'll give an example (it's a bit of a long story but I feel like I need to
explain in depth so people who haven't seen this first hand will understand):
At one point I was one of the Government Purchase Card holders in my squadron. Basically I was issued a government credit card to buy supplies and
equipment for my unit (up to a certain amount. The really high cost items were purchased through a different process). Anyway, when the end of the
fiscal year was coming, typically the Wing would snatch up all the unit money a few months out and put it in a big pool, and then the units had to
submit a wish list, including the item you want, the vendor you want to buy it from, the price, etc. The Wing then goes through this list and
prioritizes it and then at some point you would receive an end-of-year buydown list of items you are authorized to purchase. That whole process takes
When we submitted our wish list, the Materiel Management Flight had requested me to purchase some warehouse partitions. When I received the approved
buydown list, the partitions were on it, so I went to purchase. When I did, I discovered that in the time between when we submitted the list and it
was approved, another vendor had started a sale where I could get the exact same partitions for about 10% less than the price we submitted. I thought
that was great, I could save the government some money, so I purchased them from the vendor that had the sale. Well, it was my first year doing this,
and I did not realize that when the Wing approves this list, you have to purchase the exact item they approved, from the vendor they approved, at the
price they approved. On our regular purchases throughout the year, we usually go with the lowest price. If there's a discrepancy between what I
requested and what I spent, I just showed them proof (receipts) and we adjusted our ledger accordingly. Apparently this is done differently for the
end of year buydown so the Wing can accurately account for the money we are spending, and what they have left.
When it was discovered weeks later that I had purchased from another vendor, I was forced to return the partitions, pay a restocking fee to the vendor
I had purchased them from, and then purchase them from the approved vendor at the higher price. So not only was I not able to save the government
money, I ended up costing them money because of the restocking fee which was quite substantial.
Truth be told, I am pretty sure that someone somewhere up my chain of command could have contacted someone up at the Wing and gotten the change
approved. Apparently no one felt like taking that step. But this is just one example from one cardholder in one unit. Imagine how many times the
government has lost money due to something like this over the years.