Frequently Asked Questions
Reporting Suspected Fraud, Waste and Abuse of Public Resources to the Office of the State Auditor (OSA)
- What does the OSA do?
The OSA web site describes who we are and what we do. Our mission is to promote fiscal accountability in the utilization of public resources provided by the State of New Mexico and its citizens.
- What kinds of problems would I normally report to the OSA?
Our Special Investigations Division is concerned about issues involving financial fraud, waste and abuse of public resources
- What if my issue doesn’t appear to fall within the jurisdiction of the OSA?
There are other agencies that have jurisdiction over issues not directly related to the misuse or misappropriation of public resources by managers or their employees, but that may still be of concern. You should report those issues to those agencies.
- What if I’m not sure who to report to?
When it doubt, feel free to report to the OSA your issue or concern. Once we establish what the related facts are, we’ll assist you in determining whether you reported the matter to the appropriate agency or not.
- Do you collaborate with these other agencies?
Yes, we do share information and coordinate our efforts with other agencies. For example, potential illegal activity by an employee involving public resources falls within our jurisdiction, but would also be of interest to law enforcement and/or the appropriate prosecuting authority.
- Can I report my concern to one of these other agencies as well, if my issue appears to fall within the jurisdiction of both the OSA and one of these other agencies?
Yes you can and you should report to both, unless for some reason you perceive a potential conflict of interest and aren’t sure your concern can or will be objectively evaluated by the agency in question. But normally the answer is yes.
- What do you mean by “law enforcement” and “appropriate prosecuting authority?”
Law enforcement could mean the local police, the sheriff’s department, State police, or the Federal Bureau of Investigation when federal dollars are involved. Prosecuting authorities include the local District Attorney, the State Attorney General or, in the case of federal monies, the U.S. Attorney/Justice Department.
- How do you decide who to collaborate with and when?
We have a fact-finding process (reference process flow chart) that enables us to make this determination. The nature of what’s reported establishes whether collaboration may be necessary or appropriate. For example, in some cases it may be appropriate to have the Independent Public Accountant (IPA) for the agency that’s alleged to having a problem, to review the matter as part of the regularly scheduled annual financial audit. In other cases it may be appropriate to allow the agency to conduct its own internal review of the matter, using its own Internal Audit or Inspector General resources.
- What if the agency or its IPA can’t do an objective internal review of the matter because of a potential conflict of interest?
If we suspect this to be the case, the OSA has the option of assign its own internal resources, in the form of a Special Audit, to conduct the review in question.
- How do I report suspected acts of fraud, waste and abuse of public resources?
You can submit a report through the OSA’s seven-day-a-week, 24-hour-a-day independently operated telephone hotline (1-866-OSA-FRAUD) or through the OSA’s hotline website link.
- Who operates the OSA’s Hotline?
The OSA has contracted with The Network (http://www.tnwinc.com/). The Network is an independent service provider with an extensive customer base and over 25 years of experience. It is nationally recognized as a leader in the area of hotline support and integrated case management.
- Can I report anonymously?
You have the option of reporting anonymously if you choose to, and will be provided a report tracking number which you may use at any time, day or night, to report additional information or receive messages from the OSA regarding the status and/or additional insight required to answer one or more of the fact-finding questions noted below.
- How much information do I have to provide?
You have to provide enough information so that we can determine precisely who, what, when, where, why and how much is involved. We call this the fact-finding phase of our process.
- What type of information should I be prepared to provide when reporting an issue?
A list of the types of questions we normally need answers to is provided below. You may not be able to answer all these questions, which is why some of our questions deal with other potential sources of information (people or documents).
- Why do you need so many specifics?
The more we can corroborate and document, the greater the likelihood something can be done to promote accountability (provide link to accountability statement).