- US MAIL a written complaint:
Ohio Auditor of State’s Office
Special Investigations Unit
88 East Broad Street
P.O. Box 1140
Columbus, OH 43215
- CALL the SIU Fraud Hotline
1-866-FRAUD OH (1-866-372-8364)
Auditor of State Dave Yost takes allegations of fraud in government seriously. Fraud Investigation is performed by four units within the Auditor of State’s Office that are committed to the timely and consistent review of all tips and complaints of suspected fraud, which are published in a public log. Complaints may be made at any time by any public employee or any member of the public using this Web site, U.S. Mail, and phone.
Ohio Fraud Report System
A public log of fraud reports is available to the public through the Ohio Fraud Report System, which includes the date of the report, the entity complained of, the nature of the complaint and the status of the review of the complaint. The public log was established pursuant to H.B. 66, which also requires all public employers to notify employees of the methods of reporting fraud, including doing so anonymously. New hires must, within 30 days of hire, verify in writing that they have been advised of the system, and the Auditor of State’s office will verify compliance with the law during regular audits.
Special Audit Task Force
Each year, the Auditor of State’s Office receives hundreds of tips regarding suspected fraud in government. These tips come from many sources, including public employees and concerned citizens as well as state auditors who find suspicious activity in the course of a routine financial audit. The Special Audit Task Force – comprised of auditors, investigators and attorneys on the Auditor of State’s staff – evaluates tips and discusses the best course of action on a case-by-case basis.
This task force meets on a regular basis and determines how to best address each complaint. If the Special Audit Task Force decides that a case falls under the authority of the Auditor of State’s Office, it is sent to the Special Audit Section and Special Investigations Unit for further review. Cases that are not subject to the Auditor of State’s authority may be referred to other local, state or federal government agencies, prosecutors and law enforcement officers.
Special Audit Section
In some situations, it is possible to investigate suspicions of fraud during the course of a regular financial audit. The Special Audit Section works with financial auditors to ensure proper testing is done to identify if public funds have been misused.
At other times, a separate special audit may be necessary. For example, the allegation might require significant amounts of detailed testing or a timely review of the complaint may not be possible during the course of a regular audit. During a special audit, members of the section manage and supervise regional auditors who perform detailed testing of an entity’s financial records to determine if there is fraud.
Special Investigations Unit
The Auditor of State’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is comprised of peace officers who work to gather information that is not readily available during the special audit. This information might include bank statements or credit card records that must be obtained through a subpoena. Additionally, SIU investigators may conduct interviews to collect additional information to identify how public funds were spent. SIU investigators work to determine if criminal activity has occurred and build a case for prosecution against individuals who are accused of stealing taxpayer money.
Once fieldwork has been completed, the Auditor of State’s Office will work with the local county prosecutor to determine the next steps for a case. During each investigation, the Auditor of State’s Office develops a case file containing all information necessary to try a case in court. County prosecutors have the option to work independently or to request the help of the Auditor’s special prosecutor. The special prosecutor provides the benefit of being more familiar with a case and having expertise in public-sector crime.