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Commonalities and Consequences of SBIR fraud
Video courtesy of the Department of Energy

With the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Office of Inspector General expanded its fraud awareness briefing program. During these presentations to Department officials, contractors, state and local oversight agencies, and Recovery Act fund recipients, common fraud schemes and indicators are high-lighted, serving to educate individuals on specific vulnerabilities within the programs, contracts and grants they oversee. Potential schemes discussed include:

  • Falsifying information in grant applications and bid proposals.
  • Making unallowable or unauthorized purchases (e.g., use of Department funds for personal luxury items or items outside to scope of the contract or grant).
  • Submitting a work product that had been funded previously by another agency (e.g., grant research report).
  • Using Department funds for expenses related to another Federal agency or customer.
  • Misallocating costs among Department projects (e.g., improperly shifting expenses from one Department grant or contract to another).
  • Mischarging for expenses not incurred or work not performed (i.e., phantom charges).
  • Seeking reimbursement for substandard or incomplete products or services (e.g., performing less weatherization work than funded or using inferior weatherization products).
  • Misrepresenting project status and progress in order to continue receiving funds.
  • Falsifying test results or other data.
  • Disposing of hazardous waste in violation of Federal regulations.
  • Influencing an award to a family member or friend.

The briefing process enhances the Office of Inspector General’s “eyes and ears’’ as well as the Department’s overall ability to prevent and detect fraud. Fraud awareness briefings also alert recipients (contractors, grantees, others) to the Office of Inspector General’s oversight role, and expose them to potential adverse ramifications of the misuse of Recovery funds. To date, we have provided over 100 briefings involving 10,000 federal, state, and local officials.

Federal, State and local officials may request a group fraud awareness briefing by sending an email to Please include your name, title, agency, location and contact information. Information on reporting allegations of actual or suspected fraud, waste or abuse may be found here: To Report Recovery Act Fraud, Waste and Abuse.

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U.S. Department of Energy
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