Investigators at the Labor Department are looking for the supervisor of a day care center program in Pasadena, Tex., who vanished after she was charged with stealing $26,499 from the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act program. During a two-year period, the woman forged time sheets and cashed paychecks for more than a dozen former employes.
Reports like this are released each week by the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency, which keeps track of investigations by the inspectors general. Put mildly, the council thinks the IG programs at 13 federal agencies are just swell.
Created in 1978, the IG's are presidential appointees empowered to investigate any agency program without interference. In fiscal 1981, the IGs questioned $5.1 billion in government expenditures, recovered $483 million in overpayments, saved the government $2 billion in unnecessary expenses, helped indict 1,479 persons and helped convict 957 others, the Office of Management and Budget said. In the process, they spent $280.5 million.
Major investigations by the IGs often make headlines, but most do not. Here's a sample of cases they reported in March.
Washable Food Stamps: With help from the Secret Service, Agriculture Department investigators arrested four persons who had been stealing canceled food stamps from a bank, washing off the cancellation marks and redeeming the stamps. Investigators say the suspects, including a bank employe, had been stealing the stamps for more than two years and had $50,000 worth of canceled stamps with them when arrested.
* Fishy Fish: Working with the FBI, the Commerce Department's IG staff has accused a California fish packing company of tampering with the fish it shipped to military bases. The company cheated the government by packing more ice than necessary in its packages and by substituting poor quality fish before delivery.
* Rigged Bids: A Chicago attorney and the owner of a construction company have been accused by a federal grand jury of attempting to defraud the Small Business Administration. They were charged after SBA investigators alleged the duo had rigged bids and executed fraudulent contracts for work at a Chicago police station. The work was bonded by the SBA.
* Unlimited Travel: Interior Department investigators say the accounting system at the Bureau of Indian Affairs Finance Center in Albuquerque, N.M., is haphazard. Auditors found $489,000 in negotiable instruments in the center's safe, $261,228 stuffed into a desk, and discovered that 3,626 travel advances--worth $1.6 million--had not been accounted for. Some of the advances were paid in 1975. One employe granted a $28,500 travel advance for a down payment on a home, according to investigators.