How to Identify Fraud, Waste, or Abuse


Acts of fraud, waste and/or abuse deplete county resources and can occur through unintentional means or by deliberate actions. Regardless of the intent, acts such as these cannot be tolerated; therefore, each employee is expected to report suspected fraud, waste, and/or abuse either directly to their supervisor or through the County’s fraud hotline known as the AlertLine. To better understand how these categories differ from each other, definitions are provided below.

Fraud is an intentional deception perpetrated by internal or external individual(s) or organization(s) which could result in a tangible or intangible benefit to themselves, others, or the county,or could cause detriment to others or the county.  Fraud includes a false representation of a matter of fact by words or by conduct, by false or misleading statements, or by concealment of that which should have been disclosed and which deceives and is intended to deceive. Examples of fraudulent actives include, but are not limited to, forgery or alteration of documents (checks, contracts, purchase orders, invoices, time sheets, or any other financial document), misappropriation of funds, equipment, supplies, or other assets, and improprieties in the handling or reporting of financial transactions.

Waste is the intentional or unintentional, thoughtless or careless expenditure, consumption, mismanagement, use, or squandering of resources to the detriment or potential detriment of the county. Waste also includes incurring unnecessary costs as a result of inefficient or ineffective practices, systems, or controls.

is the excessive or improper use of a thing, or to employ something in a manner contrary to the natural or legal rules
for its use. Acts of abuse include, but are not limited to, the intentional destruction, diversion, manipulation, misapplication, maltreatment, or misuse of county resources such as tools, vehicles, computers, printers, etc., or extravagant or excessive use of one‘s position or authority. Abuse can occur in both financial and non-financial settings.




Red Flags of Fraud

A red flag is a set of circumstances that are unusual in nature or vary from normal and signals that something is out of the ordinary and may need further investigation. It should be noted that red flags do not in of themselves indicate guilt or innocence but merely provide possible warning signs of fraud; red flags may be present even when fraud actually isn’t. 

Common Personality of Fraudsters

  “Wheeler and Dealers”


Don’t like others reviewing their work

Strong desire for personal gain

Display a “Beat the System Attitude”

Live beyond their means

Close relationship with customers and/or vendors

Often have a “too good to be true” work performance

Don’t take vacation or sick leave or only take leave in small amounts

Outwardly they appear to be very trustworthy

Often display some sort of drastic change in personality or behavior

Unable to relax

Often work excessive overtime

Common Sources of Pressure

  Medical problems, especially those of a loved one

Unreasonable performance goals

Spouse loses a job


Starting a new business or current business is struggling

Criminal conviction or civil lawsuit

Purchase of a new home, a second home, or a home remodel

Excessive gambling

Drug or alcohol addiction

Need to maintain a certain lifestyle

Changes in Behavior

  Suddenly appears to be buying more material items (houses, cars, boats, clothes, jewelry, electronics, etc.)

Brags about new purchases

Starts to carry unusual amounts of cash

Creditors/Bill collectors show up at work or call frequently

Borrows money from coworkers

Becomes more irritable or moody

Becomes unreasonably upset when questioned

Becomes territorial over their area of responsibility

Works unneeded overtime

Won’t take vacation or sick time or only takes it in small increments

Turns down promotions

Starts coming in early or staying late

Redoes or rewrites work to “make it neat”

May start to mention family or financial problems

Exhibits signs of a drug or gambling addiction (absenteeism, becomes manipulative, looks ill, inconsistent or illogical behavior, loss of sleep or appetite, etc.)

Exhibits signs of dissatisfaction (decrease in productivity, changes in attire, irregular schedule, frequent complaining about inequities or work issues)

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