Military members: key to fraud prevention

  • Published
  • By Air Force Office of Special Investigations
  • Detachment 226
The Air Force Office of Special Investigations at Ellsworth needs help in identifying and reporting fraudulent activities. Besides general crimes, counterintelligence and research and technology protection missions, a significant amount of AFOSI's resources are assigned to fraud investigations.

In the past few years, AFOSI has recovered more than a billion dollars defrauded from the Air Force worldwide. This accomplishment is quite significant, considering only 10 percent of fraudulent activity is reported and or discovered. Imagine how much money could be recovered or saved if more people were educated on what to look for. The bottom line -- don't let anyone walk away with the Air Force's money.

Everyone has heard the words "fraud, waste and abuse," but would you really know what it was if you saw it, and if so, would you know whom to report it to?

To start off with, what is fraud? Fraud is defined as the crime of obtaining money or some other benefit by deliberate deception. Simply put, fraud is theft. Unfortunately, it's not always simple or obvious. Fraud comes in many forms and can often be tricky to find. Bribery, identity theft, money laundering, embezzlement, and submitting false documentation are a few examples. These crimes are often complicated and covered up well. Only those who are most familiar with the system can find ways to steal money or other products without setting off any alarms.

To help you become more aware of what to look for, the following are indicators of fraudulent activities: concentration of authority and or responsibility of one particular person for an entire process (i.e. the Government Purchase Card holder is also the approval and billing official); inadequate feedback on results of operations; lack of independent verification regarding accuracy of records, transactions and reports; vague and confusing procedures or standards; inability to identify responsibility; lack of adequate supervision or oversight; unrealistic budgetary and or acquisition requirements; inadequate physical safeguards over resources; failure to strictly enforce contract provisions and correct deficiencies identified by existing systems.

With more situational awareness in the work area, members may help prevent these kinds of occurrences from happening, however if they do occur, contact AFOSI Detachment 226 and tell them what you know. The detachment is located on the third floor of Building 8202 and can be reached at (605) 385-2852 or via e-mail at or Anyone who provides information may do so under condition of anonymity.