Fraud, Waste and Abuse FAQs

1. Specifically, what are fraud, waste, and abuse?

As defined in the WSSC Water’s Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline Regulation:

  • Fraud – MEANS AN INTENTIONAL ACT OR ATTEMPT TO OBTAIN SOMETHING OF VALUE FROM THE COMMISSION OR ANOTHER PERSON THROUGH WILLFUL MISREPRESENTATION.

            “FRAUD” INCLUDES A WILLFUL FALSE REPRESENTATION OF A MATERIAL FACT, WHETHER BY WORDS OR BY CONDUCT, BY FALSE OR MISLEADING ALLEGATIONS, OR BY CONCEALMENT OF THAT WHICH SHOULD HAVE BEEN DISCLOSED, THAT CAUSES THE COMMISSION TO ACT, OR FAIL TO ACT, TO THE DETRIMENT OF THE COMMISSION’S INTEREST.

  • Waste – MEANS AN INAPPROPRIATE ACT OR OMISSION BY AN EMPLOYEE WITH CONTROL OVER, OR ACCESS TO, COMMISSION PROPERTY OR FUNDS THAT UNREASONABLY DEPRIVES THE COMMISSION OF VALUE.

             “WASTE” INCLUDES MISMANAGEMENT OR OTHER UNINTENTIONAL CONDUCT THAT IS DEFICIENT OR IMPROPER WHEN COMPARED TO CONDUCT A PRUDENT PERSON WOULD CONSIDER NECESSARY TO PRESERVE THE VALUE OF COMMISSION PROPERTY OR FUNDS UNDER THE SAME FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES.

  • Abuse – MEANS AN EMPLOYEE’S INTENTIONAL MISCONDUCT OR MISUSE OF AUTHORITY OR POSITION:

            (I)    INVOLVING COMMISSION PROPERTY OR FUNDS THAT IS IMPROPER OR DEFICIENT WHEN COMPARED TO CONDUCT A PRUDENT PERSON WOULD CONSIDER REASONABLE UNDER THE SAME FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES; OR

            (II)    FOR THE PURPOSE OF FURTHERING IMPROPERLY THE PRIVATE INTERESTS OF THE EMPLOYEE, A FAMILY MEMBER, OR A CLOSE PERSONAL OR BUSINESS ASSOCIATE. 

“ABUSE” INCLUDES:

            (I)    THEFT OR MISAPPROPRIATION OF COMMISSION PROPERTY OR FUNDS; AND

            (II)    DESTRUCTION OR ALTERATION OF OFFICIAL RECORDS.

2. How do I contact the WSSC Water Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline?

Hotline: 1-877-WSSCFWA (1-877-977-2392) or online at Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline

3. Will my call be confidential?

Our third-party vendor does not use Caller Identification technology or track phone numbers; therefore, your identity will be confidential unless you choose to disclose your identity.

4. Am I required to provide my name when I use the Hotline?

No. You have the option of remaining anonymous or disclosing your name. If you choose to remain anonymous, a unique identifying number will be assigned to you for follow-up questions and/or updates on investigations.

5. Who am I calling when I use the Hotline?

The WSSC Water’s Hotline is administered by a third-party vendor. The vendor is also the Hotline provider for more than 1,000 business clients.

6. What should I expect when I call the Hotline?

A highly trained, experienced interview specialist will ask you a series of questions to obtain information about the incident you are reporting. The information obtained will then be communicated to the Office of the Inspector General for appropriate handling.

7. Why do we have a Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline?

We have a Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline because it helps promote integrity in the workplace and initial detection of occupational fraud is primarily done through Hotline tips. The second and third ways of detection are through management review and Office of the Inspector General, respectively.

8. What is occupational fraud?

Occupational fraud is defined by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners as “the use of one’s occupation for personal enrichment through the deliberate misuse or misapplication of the employing organization’s resources or assets.”

9. Is the Hotline just for WSSC Waster employees?

No. The Hotline is also available to the public.

10. What are the Hotline’s hours of operation?

The Hotline is available for use 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. It also accepts reports in more than 150 languages.

11. What information should I provide when I call the Hotline?

We ask that you provide the following information:

  • Date, time and location of the incident
  • Description of the incident
  • Individual(s) involved
  • Amount/value of theft or fraud (if known)
  • Documentation (if available)
  • How often the incident occurred
  • Steps already taken to resolve the issue

12. Should I use the Hotline to file a complaint about a suspected Ethics Code violation, request a Board of Ethics Advisory Opinion, or request a Code of Ethics Waiver?

No. Requests for Code of Ethics Waivers or Board of Ethics Advisory Opinions; as well as routine ethics inquiries should continue to be directed to the Ethics Officer at 301-206-8010. However, some complaints about suspected Code of Ethics violations can also be reported to the Hotline.

13. If I experience an emergency involving danger or injury while at work, should I call the Hotline?

No. You should call 911 for immediate assistance and notify the WSSC’s Police Department at 301-206-8282. 

14. What types of incidents should I report to the Hotline?

Any incidents you observe that are believed to be illegal, unethical, or suspicious should be reported to the Hotline. Some examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Falsification of company records
  • Theft of cash, goods, services, and/or time
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Stolen WSSC property
  • Kickbacks/bribery
  • Contract or procurement fraud
  • Fraudulent reimbursement or travel claims
  • Whistleblower retaliation

15. Can I check on the status of my reported incident?

Yes. All reported incidents are assigned a report number. Depending on the reporting method used, and using your report number, you will either be able to call back or access your report via the web to see if additional information is needed or check on its status.

16. If the incident I report leads to an investigation, how long will it take for the incident to be investigated?

The time it takes to complete an investigation will vary with each case and greatly depends upon the complexity of the issue(s) under investigation, as well as the suspected parties involved.

17. What happens if the incident I reported is investigated and found to be true (substantiated)?

There can be serious personal, legal and/or business consequences if an investigation reveals that an employee engaged in conduct constituting fraud, waste or abuse or for those who violate the Commission’s Code of Ethics, the Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline Policy and/or the Comprehensive Whistleblower Protection Regulation. Violations could result in disciplinary action, up to and including release from employment, a public reprimand from the Board of Ethics, and/or court imposed civil fines. In addition, matters that are referred for criminal prosecution could result in imprisonment. 

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