DOT investigating improper employee use of travel cards

| Wednesday, September 03, 2003

A recent U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General’s office audit found DOT workers had misused travel cards by withdrawing cash in excess of travel needs, making personal purchases or not paying their bills on time.

The audit identified 146 DOT employees who misused their cards or were delinquent with their payments. “We reviewed over 12,000 charges totaling about $1.7 million on these employees’ travel cards that occurred during the audit period July 1, 2001, through June 30, 2002,” the IG’s report said.

About $770,000 of the charges were for personal purchases or excess cash and 22 of the 96 employees were delinquent in paying their bills.

Here are some sample abuses: A Federal Railroad Administration employee charged $15,295 for personal cable and satellite charges; A Maritime Administration employee charged $8,600 for personal cash and airline and hotel costs; and a Transportation Security Administration employee charged $2,900 for personal cash and car rental, airline and hotel costs.

In all, the audit found 93 DOT employees charged about $407,000 for personal goods or services and 48 withdrew about $361,000 in excess cash over a one-year period. Twenty-two employees were delinquent in paying their bills.

“In response to our concerns, DOT issued a revised travel card policy, which will strengthen oversight of the travel card program,” the IG’s report said. “We referred 95 cases of misuse to our Office of Investigations for further review and appropriate action.”