2021 Fraud Hotline Annual Report

White icon on maroon background. Hand calling on a cell phone.  Fraud Hotline logo: To call it out, call it in.
The Auditor’s Office Fraud Hotline provides City employees and members of the public a way to confidentially report suspected fraud, waste, and abuse of position by or against the City.

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In 2021 we received 49 tips and opened seven investigations.

  • 31 were not related to the City
  • Five were service complaints about the City but not related to fraud, waste, or abuse of position
  • Five were declined because they lacked specificity or did not meet investigation criteria
  • Four were investigated but not substantiated
  • Three remained under investigation at the end of the year
  • One was a complaint about police officers, which we referred to Independent Police Review
A bar graph illustrating the largest number of reports received by the Fraud Hotline in 2021 were unrelated to the City of Portland.

Of the tips that we declined:

  • Three did not include enough information to investigate
  • One was too old to investigate
  • One was not significant enough to investigate

Tips trending down

The number of tips trended down in 2021: from 71 in 2020 to 49 in 2021. We plan to renew and expand outreach activities and improve our website so it is clearer to potential tipsters that we only investigate tips related to the City of Portland. Outreach has been limited by remote work and Covid-19 restrictions.

Send us more tips

If you think something is amiss in how Portland City government is operating, make sure we know it, too. The Fraud Hotline receives reports of suspected fraud, waste, or abuse of position by City employees, contractors, board members, or anyone representing the City. Anyone can file a report, and you can choose to be anonymous. We’ll investigate tips within the purview of the hotline and report results back to you.

Hotline reports go to an outside vendor to ensure security and confidentiality. If you wish to remain anonymous and not provide contact information, please note the Report Key number that is provided once you’ve filled out the report form or completed a call to the hotline. If we have follow-up questions, we can communicate them to that number through the vendor’s online portal and exchange documents without ever knowing your name or contact information.

The more details you can provide, the more effectively we can investigate.

Provide as much detail as possible:

  • Who, what, when, where, and how;
  • Include dates, names, locations, amounts, and witnesses;
  • Upload any documents and pictures through the outside vendor’s portal.

Fraud is an intentional deception which could result in a benefit for which a person or entity is not entitled. Examples include:

  • Theft of City money, equipment, supplies, or data;
  • Forging or falsifying documents, such as invoices, timesheets, or travel documents;
  • Soliciting or accepting a bribe.

Waste involves the careless or extravagant expenditure of City funds or the misuse or mismanagement of City resources. Waste does not have to involve a private use or personal gain and can be intentional or unintentional. Examples include:

  • Use of City equipment or property for personal gain;
  • Inefficient or ineffective practices or systems;
  • Purchase of goods at inflated prices.

Abuse of position involves the improper use of a City position to obtain a benefit or advantage. Abuse may also involve the improper use or destruction of City records or other resources. Examples include:

  • Using a City position to obtain advantage.
  • Suspending or terminating enforcement action based on a personal relationship.
  • Failure to report damage to City equipment or property.