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Investigations

The OIG initiates an investigation when it receives a complaint of wrongdoing. Most allegations are made by FCA employees.

An OIG investigation is a planned, systematic process that involves

The OIG has adopted Quality Standards for Investigations issued by the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency as guidance for its investigative activity.

OIG investigations focus on violations of law or misconduct by FCA employees and contractors, as well as allegations of irregularities or abuse in FCA programs and operations. The OIG has investigated violations alleging

The Investigative Process
The investigative process consists of the following steps:

  1. Preliminary Analysis. When the OIG receives a complaint of wrongdoing, it performs a preliminary analysis to determine if further action is warranted. The OIG considers

    • indications, as well as the plausibility of allegations, that a violation of a statute or regulation under OIG jurisdiction has been committed;

    • the effect of the alleged illegal or improper activity on FCA programs; and

    • indications that the matter may significantly affect public health and safety.

  2. Field Work. If the OIG determines that an investigation should be undertaken, it begins to obtain all relevant facts by

    • examining documents and

    • interviewing individuals.

    Before beginning an interview, OIG investigators state the nature and purpose of the interview. Information they obtain is documented in records of interviews and by affidavits sworn under oath.

    Most employees voluntarily consent to interviews and fully cooperate by supplying information and documents in their control. Employees who do not consent may be ordered by a supervisor to appear for an interview with an OIG investigator. Employees who disobey such an order are subject to disciplinary action.

    Employees must be truthful when interviewed. False statements made in the course of an investigation could subject the employee to criminal and administrative penalties.

    When appropriate, the OIG informs subjects of their legal rights, including the right to remain silent and to obtain legal counsel. An employee is entitled to a reasonable amount of time to arrange legal representation. The role of the legal or other representative is to provide counsel or advice, not to answer questions on behalf of the employee. Representatives are not permitted to question the OIG investigator or otherwise dominate or disrupt the interview or the investigation. Legal or other representation is at the expense of the employee.

  3. Products of the Investigation. If a complaint cannot be substantiated, the OIG may inform the complainant, the subject, and other interested parties.

    However, when the investigation substantiates a wrongful act, the OIG prepares an investigative report, which describes the allegation, the evidence to support it, and aspects of an allegation that are not substantiated. Investigative reports rarely recommend specific disciplinary action against individuals.

    If an issue identified in the investigative report is a recurring or systemic problem, the OIG uses a cover letter to identify this broader problem to managers and sometimes to suggest an appropriate response. FCA management is expected to report to the OIG the actions it has taken in response to the identified problems.

  4. Report Distribution. The investigative report is distributed according to the findings of the investigation. If the investigation concludes that there was wrongdoing other than criminal, the report is sent directly to FCA management for administrative action. If there is evidence of criminal wrongdoing, the OIG presents the report to the Department of Justice for its consideration. This may lead to prosecution of the subject(s) in Federal court. In cases where there is evidence for criminal wrongdoing, the Inspector General may also refer the report to management for administrative action.

    Investigative reports are sensitive documents, and the Privacy Act and the Freedom of Information Act restrict their distribution. Distribution is limited to those with a “need to know” for official purposes.

  5. Management’s Response. Management officials should advise the OIG what actions will be taken in response to investigative report findings.