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All McHenry County government facilities will be CLOSED on Monday, February 19th, in observance of Presidents Day.

Office of the County Auditor - Pamela K. Palmer, McHenry County Auditor

Reporting Fraud

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What can I report?
How can I report?
Can I remain anonymous or be kept confidential?
Who should report?
Why should I report?
What should not be reported?
What happens after I report the incident to the hotline?
What happens if I identify myself?
What detail should be reported?
What is fraud, waste and abuse?


What Can I Report?

The McHenry County Fraud Hotline is for reporting any suspected fraud, misconduct, or abuse by McHenry County employees, contractors, and/or vendors related to McHenry County government's departments or operations.

 

How Can I Report?

Phone
If you observe any fraud, waste, abuse, or misuse of McHenry County resources, or in the operations of the County government assets, please call the Auditor's Office toll-free hotline at 1-866-908-2261. This hotline is answered by the County Auditor (Monday through Friday) between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Voice Mail
Call the Fraud, Waste & Abuse Hotline toll-free at 1-866-908-2261 after normal business hours and leave a detailed voice mail.  If the Auditor is not available, you may leave a message for her to call you back if you would like to speak to her personally.

Online
Fill out a Fraud, Waste & Abuse Form Online and submit electronically.

Mail
Print out the Fraud, Waste & Abuse Form [PDF] and mail to:

Pamela Palmer, County Auditor
McHenry County Auditor's Office
2200 North Seminary Avenue
Woodstock, IL 60098

Email
Send an email with detailed information to: auditor@co.mchenry.il.us.

In Person
Speak with Pam Palmer, County Auditor in-person either at the Auditor's Office or at an alternate location.

Office of the McHenry County Auditor
McHenry County Administration Building
667 Ware Rd - Room 105
Woodstock, IL 60098

Fax
Submit detailed information of the fraud, waste or abuse of County resources via fax to (815) 334-4621.

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Can I remain anonymous or be kept confidential?

You can remain anonymous; you do not have to provide your name when you report.  However, please be aware that we will not be able to contact you if additional information is required relative to your reported allegation of fraud, waste or abuse, which may curtail any ensuing investigation. If you decide to identify yourself, the Auditor's Office will not knowingly disclose any information that would identify you without your express permission, unless required by law.  If you still wish to remain anonymous, please do not provide your name or any other information that may personally identify you.

In accordance with the Office of the McHenry County Auditor, detailed information received pursuant to a report of fraud, waste or abuse or any ongoing investigation thereof shall be considered work papers of the Office and shall be confidential. Individuals should know however, that such information may become known during the course of any investigation, as required by law. Whether you report anonymously or not, the County Auditor's Office will treat your report confidentially.

 

Who should report?

Anyone who has direct knowledge of or is aware of fraud, waste or abuse of McHenry County resources:

  • County Residents
  • County Taxpayers
  • County Elected Officials and Department Heads
  • County Employees
  • County Vendors, Contractors, Consultants
  • Other parties who suspect or are aware of fraud, waste and abuse of McHenry County resources
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Why should I report?

Why should you report? Because tax dollars help to support and fund the operations of McHenry County government and taxpayers deserve government to be honest, effective, and efficient. One way to accomplish this is for you to report any suspicious activity to the Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline. 

Please do not assume that there are others who know of or have reported the issue. It is up to you! Even if suspicious or documented fraud, waste or abuse has already been reported, your report may offer further information to assist us.

 

What should not be reported?

The Fraud, Waste & Abuse hotline is reserved for reporting instances of fraud, waste, and abuse within McHenry County government operations and its related departments. It is not intended for:

  • complaints about your neighbors
  • private businesses
  • other non-governmental entities; unless related to McHenry County government
  • other local governments, such as municipalities or townships, unless related to McHenry County government

If something reported is found to be not within the authority of the Auditor's Office to investigate, it will be referred to the appropriate agency or authorities as necessary.  Most importantly, please make sure that the allegation of fraud, waste or abuse of McHenry County resources you report is as accurate and truthful as possible.  Do not intentionally report false or misleading information.  The intentional reporting of false or purposely misleading information can result in civil or criminal liability.

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What happens after I report the incident to the hotline?

The information that you report is received by the Auditor's Office who initiates and coordinates all investigations. If you speak with an Auditor directly, either on the phone or in-person, the Auditor will listen to your allegation and request pertinent information. To the extent allowed by law, professional staff will review and handle the information reported to the Hotline in a confidential and professional manner, and will conduct a prompt preliminary investigation of the alleged activity. A full investigation will follow if evidence substantiates possible fraud, waste, or abuse, which may vary from a couple of weeks to several months depending on the complexity of the case.

 

What happens if I identify myself?

The Auditor's Office is committed to protecting the confidentiality and anonymity of individuals who report allegations of fraud, waste and abuse of County resources to the Fraud, Waste & Abuse Hotline.  If you identify yourself, your name and contact information will be held in strictest confidence and will not be disclosed to third parties unless required by law. McHenry County employees are protected under Section 3.17 Whistleblower Protection in the “Personnel Policy Manual,” which states,

“The County is committed to full compliance with all federal and state laws that protect an employee who discloses information to a government or law enforcement agency if the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of state or federal law, rule or regulation.”
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What detail should be reported?

What should you report? Whichever method you decide you want to report with, whether on the phone, online, or in-person, it is important that you can provide as much detailed information as possible so that your reported issue can be properly investigated. Six basic elements should be included in your report:

WHO - Who are the individuals responsible for and who is aware of the improper activity?
WHAT - What is the improper activity? Is there documentation that substantiates the reported improper activity?
WHERE - Where did the improper activity occur; within a County department or elsewhere?  Where can the investigator locate the individual(s) involved or who have information about the activity?  Where can an investigator find documents or other evidence related to the activity?
WHEN - When did the activity occur? When did you discover it? Is it still occurring?
WHY - Why did the activity occur? Did the activity benefit those involved?
HOW - How was the activity able to occur? Were controls circumvented that allowed the activity to occur?

 

What is fraud, waste and abuse?

FRAUD entails the dishonest and deliberate course of action that results in the obtaining of money, property, or an advantage in which the recipient would not normally be entitled. The intentional deception perpetrated by an individual or individuals, or an organization or organizations, either internal or external to County government, which could result in a tangible or intangible benefit to themselves, others, or could cause detriment to others or the County. Fraud includes a false representation of a matter of fact, whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading statements, or by concealment of that which should have been disclosed, and is intended to deceive.

WASTE entails the expenditure or allocation of resources significantly in excess of need. Waste does not necessarily involve an element of private use or of personal gain, but invariably signifies poor management. "Waste" means the intentional or unintentional, thoughtless or careless expenditure, consumption, mismanagement, use, or squandering of resources owned or operated by the County to the detriment or potential detriment of the County. Waste also includes incurring unnecessary costs because of inefficient or ineffective practices, systems, or controls. Waste does not normally lead to an allegation of "fraud".

ABUSE entails the exploitation of "loopholes" to the limits of County ordinances and laws, primarily for personal advantage. "Abuse" means the excessive, or improper use of something, or the use of something in a manner contrary to the natural or legal rules for its use; the intentional destruction, diversion, manipulation, misapplication, maltreatment, or misuse of resources owned or operated by the County; or extravagant or excessive use so as to abuse one's position or authority. "Abuse" does not necessarily lead to an allegation of "fraud". For example, an individual may abuse travel allowances by intentionally and unnecessarily scheduling meetings in another city on a Friday afternoon and on the following Monday morning in order to claim per diem over a weekend.

Examples of fraud, waste, and abuse activities include:

  • Computer Fraud,
  • Theft of County Funds, Equipment, Supplies, or Any Other County Resources,
  • Payroll Fraud,
  • Embezzlement,
  • Gross Mismanagement or Neglect of Duty,
  • Conflicts of Interest,
  • Bribery,
  • Improper Handling or Reporting of Financial Transactions,
  • Authorizing or Receiving Compensation for Goods Not Received, Services Not Performed, or Hours Not Worked,
  • Willful Violation of Laws, Regulations, or Contractual Obligations When Conducting County Business,
  • Insurance Claim Fraud,
  • Expense Claim Fraud,
  • Vendor Fraud,
  • Identity Theft,
  • Procurement Fraud/Bid Rigging,
  • Submission of Fraudulent Certified Transcripts of Payroll to the County,
  • Wasteful, Excessive, Unnecessary, or Inappropriate Purchases or Expenditures,
  • Fictitious Suppliers/False Invoicing,
  • Falsification of Records,
  • Under or Over Billing,
  • Personal Use or Abuse of County Property Including Vehicles, Equipment, and Supplies
  • Misuse of One's Position for Personal Gain,
  • Soliciting or Accepting a Bribe or Kickback, and
  • Management Improprieties.

Perhaps you are not sure that the issue you have knowledge of amounts to fraud, waste, or abuse, but it is such that you know something is not quite right. Please report it anyway! It may turn out to be something unforeseen or it may corroborate previously reported information and result in a finding of fraud, waste or abuse.

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