25fraudhotline 9/25/09 donaldson
The federal government is looking for the public’s help in monitoring the use of the economic stimulus money that is being distributed to help improve the national and local economic conditions.
The Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board on Monday will begin a national reporting system – looking for fraudulent use of the money. Cheryl Avidson (avid-son) with the Board says the Recovery-dot-org website will soon have a simple method for finding out what local projects are going on –who received money … and what it’s supposed to be used for. She says the board must watch out for the possibility of misuse. And that begins with people being able to help them.
#25fraudhotline1 :45 People who are on the scene, on the ground, have a great opportunity to see if something just doesn’t make sense, if they think this project looks a little fishy, for example. We would like to believe that all this money would go out and there would be no problem, but that’s not realistic. And if your going to do an effective job of trying to stop fraud and waste and abuse, you need as many eyes and ears as possible watching out for these projects – and we think that by giving people the capacity and the ability to go through their local neighborhoods and drill down into this information, that that will substantially increase our ability to increase our ability to detect malfeasance, fraud and abuse going on out around the country.
Avidson says the twelve inspectors already working for the board have already been responding to reports of misuse – as have the inspectors general of twenty eight federal agencies making grants for stimulus projects.
Grant recipients are required to report on their progress beginning October first. But she says the federal government is prepared to assist people who are unfamiliar with filing reports. Additionally, local sources will be available to help with those reports – for example the Foraker (FORE-uh-kerr) Group is set to work — for a fee — with non-profit organizations on their reporting requirements.
To report allegations of misuse of the federal money, the public can use the toll-free hotline at 877-FWA-DESK – as of Monday morning – or people can use a link from the Recovery-dot-gov website.