Education Financial Management: Weak Internal Controls Led to Instances of Fraud and Other Improper Payments : Report to Congressional Requesters

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Page 10 - Internal control also serves as the first line of defense in safeguarding assets and preventing and detecting errors and fraud. In short, internal control, which is synonymous with management control, helps government program managers achieve desired results through effective stewardship of public resources.
Page 10 - Financial Integrity Act to issue standards that provide the overall framework for establishing and maintaining internal control and for identifying and addressing major performance and management challenges and areas at greatest risk of fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement.
Page 10 - Control activities are the policies, procedures, techniques, and mechanisms that enforce management's directives and help ensure that actions are taken to address risks. Control activities are an integral part of an entity's planning, implementing, reviewing, and accountability for stewardship of government resources and achieving effective results.
Page 4 - July 2001, 15 controls over grant and loan disbursements at Education did not include a key edit check or follow-up process that would help identify schools that were disbursing Pell Grants to ineligible students. To identify improper payments that may have resulted from the absence of these controls, we performed a variety of tests, including a test to identify students 70 years of age and older because we did not expect large numbers of older students to be 10U.
Page 10 - Internal Control: Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government, GAO/AIMD-00-21.3.1 (Washington, DC: November 1999).
Page 5 - We found that Education's inconsistent and inadequate authorization and review processes for purchase cards, combined with a lack of monitoring, created an environment in which improper purchases could be made with little risk of detection. Inadequate control over these expenditures, combined with the inherent risk of fraud and abuse associated with purchase cards, resulted in fraudulent, improper, and questionable purchases totaling about $686,000 by some Education employees.
Page 25 - Management offending cardholders reminding them of the prohibition against split purchases. We identified five additional instances, totaling about $17,000, in which multiple purchases were made from a single vendor on the same day. Although we were unable to determine whether these purchases were improper, based on the available supporting documentation, these transactions share similar characteristics with the 28 split purchases. For example, one cardholder purchased two printers, costing $1,711...
Page 23 - We defined questionable transactions as those that, while authorized, were for items purchased at an excessive cost, for a questionable government need, or both...
Page 15 - Education's staff and officials told us that they have performed ad hoc reviews in the past to identify schools that disbursed Pell Grants to ineligible students and have recovered some improper payments as a result. However, Education did not have a formal, systematic process in place specifically designed to identify schools that may be improperly disbursing Pell Grants. In...

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