Today we received positive news regarding a suspected case manager fraud situation that we uncovered in 2014 and subsequently raised to the authorities. The former HOPE Atlanta case manager in question, and the property agent who conspired with her, have both pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal federal funds intended to help homeless veterans, according to the U.S. Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (VA OIG).
We have participated fully with the multi-year investigation, and we applaud the VA OIG for their thorough process and efforts to bring these crimes against homeless veterans to justice.
HOPE Atlanta has always strived to be vigilant and protective stewards of the funds for which we are entrusted. In 2015, HOPE Atlanta leadership implemented additional controls to prevent these types of crimes from happening again, including, but not limited to:
- Created additional positions focused on landlord management to maintain separation of duties and ensure a check-and-balance for Case Manager duties;
- Implemented a W-9/Taxpayer Identification Number process in which a company has to be verified by the IRS before any payments are issued;
- Implemented a property verification process through System for Award Management (SAM.gov);
- Provided additional training for supervisors to flag possible fraud issues and re-assigned those who had not caught red flags appropriately. Staff background checks were also implemented.
In addition, since 2019, we have added even more controls to our accounting and lease review process. We are grateful to our partners and stakeholders who make it possible for us to provide much needed assistance to individuals and families experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. We take this job seriously and understand our responsibility to use the highest of accounting and employment standards in delivering our mission. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Chief Development Officer, Liz Liston.