Essay on Fraud, Waste and Abuse Research Project

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Fraud, Waste and Abuse Research Project

Combating fraud in the private sector is a difficult task. Trying to combat fraud in the public sector is daunting. In 1999 15.7% of the American workforce were employed by a government entity (federal, state, and local).[1] Mirroring society, government will have its share of perpetrators. The difference from the private sector is in the scope of the fraud committed, the loss of the public trust, the blaring headlines from news media, and difficulty in making necessary changes to combat the problems.

A good definition of Fraud, Waste and Abuse (FWA) can be found in U.S. Air Force Regulations and can be applied to any government (or private) organization, it states:

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Everyone has seen news headlines when someone is caught in a multi-million dollar scam. The public takes note when the government spends $400 on a single hammer or $660 on a toilet seat.[4] But what about Joe M. Ployee who takes a few pens or pencils or other office supplies home from his job at the Department of Labor? Or the city engineer who runs personal errand in his government vehicle during work hours? It is possible that these employees didn’t know they were committing FWA. Education about these transgressions must be an essential part of any training for public employees, elected, appointed or hired.


All organizations strive to streamline operations, which in turn should lead to saving money. Fighting the wasting of resources should be a top priority for any government entity and particularly for supervisors, managers, and executives. In the public sector this is particularly true because the citizens in effect supply the resources wasted. The public trust should not be abused by careless or needless spending. However, because of the bureaucratic nature of any government agency, some waste cannot readily be avoided. The laws and regulations that have been duly enacted to secure justified expenditures in and of themselves can cause waste.

Several examples of waste can be found at the
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