Case Studies of Fraudulent Activity in Henrico County

by Louise Evans, Treasury Division Director, Department of Finance

The Department of Finance, in conjunction with Internal Audit, has released a new procedure for notifying supervisors, department agency heads and the appropriate County agency heads if any employee or department suspects fraudulent activity by a County employee. Henrico County is committed to personal accountability and to protecting the County’s assets, including materials, equipment, and money.

The procedure can be found on the Finance SharePoint site under Finance Policies.

The following are a few examples of previous fraudulent activity identify what this activity might look like:

Falsifying overtime hours:

A county employee had been working overtime for an approved project for several months. As a result, the employee began to use the overtime funds, not as extra pay, but to pay for bills and extra expenses. When the project was over, the employee needed the overtime funds to continue those payments and purchases. So, instead of reigning in expenses, the employee added extra hours as overtime thinking no one would notice and the supervisor approved the timecards.

When you submit a timecard, you affirm “Falsification of any record, report, or document, including timecards, is prohibited and will be handled in accordance with the appropriate law and/pr County policy. Personnel Policies and Procedures Sections 13.4 Standards of Conduct. Omission of entries is also considered falsification.”

Another employee noticed on social media, the employee posted they were out of town the day they posted hours for overtime. When the overtime hours were investigated, it was discovered the employee had been falsifying overtime hours. The employee had to pay back the overtime hours identified as fraudulent and was terminated.

Using equipment and stealing fuel for personal use:

A county employee needed to do yardwork and their mower was broken. Their job included mowing grass, so they had access to a County mower. They thought it would be no big deal to use the mower one time at home. No one would notice. In addition, they filled their County gas can with fuel to run the mower at home. It wasn’t long before that one time, became a habit. They brought the mower back every day, so it was not “stealing,” they were just “borrowing” it and would stop when they purchased a mower.

Another employee noticed they were putting the County mower and gas can in their personal truck. They reported it to their supervisor. The incident was investigated, and it was determined the employee had been using the mower and fuel for personal use. The employee had to pay for the gas that was stolen and was terminated.

Stealing money payable to the County:

An employee had become behind on their bills. They had access to County money. Lots of money flowed through every day and they really needed the money. No one would notice if they “borrowed” the money. They would pay it back when they got their finances straight. They knew the department was not really reconciling their deposits to their monthly statements. No one would notice if they “voided” a receipt. The supervisor was not reviewing the voids and did not notice the increased number of voids. It seemed so easy, it continued. They “needed” the money more than the County.

The supervisor noticed something was a little off. The deposits were less than they were in the past, but the work had not slowed. Upon further review, the number of voided transactions stood out and it was identified one employee had the most voids and had not had an issue in the past. Due to the amount of funds suspected of being stolen, it was reported to the Police, who also investigated. It was determined there was sufficient evidence to arrest the employee. The employee was arrested and had to go through the court system, in addition to losing their job.

We share this information because accountability is one of the County’s core values. If you see someone not being a good steward of County resources, please report it. Trust and integrity are essential values for all Henrico County employees. We have a responsibility to provide our citizens a government characterized by accountability and responsibility.

These case studies are based on a combination of real cases in Henrico County but the details have been fictionalized so they do not represent the exact circumstances, and identities can remain confidential.