Preventing Fraud, Waste, or Abuse in Your Department
University management is responsible for establishing and implementing systems and procedures to prevent and detect fraud, waste, or abuse. You can take a proactive approach to preventing fraud by implementing the proper internal controls. For example:
- Create a culture of honesty and high ethics
- Evaluate risks and implement processes, procedures, and controls to prevent, deter and detect fraud, waste and abuse
- Develop an appropriate oversight process
Management at all levels of the University should review the information available from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants in the document Management Anti-fraud Programs and Controls: Guidance to Help Prevent and Deter Fraud. See the Management Anti-Fraud Document.
Please contact Audit and Consulting Services at (615) 898-2914 if you need assistance in reviewing risks, processes, procedures, or controls or in providing internal control training.
Reporting Fraud, Waste, or Abuse
The University is committed to the responsible stewardship of resources; and state law requires all public institutions of higher education to provide a means by which employees, students, or others may report suspected or known improper or dishonest acts.
Whether you are part of departmental management, a faculty or staff member, a student,
or an interested citizen, University leaders encourage you to report known or suspected
dishonest acts by employees, outside contractors, or vendors.
What Should I Report?
Dishonest acts, either known or suspected, should be reported, such as:
- Theft or misappropriation of funds, supplies, property, or other University resources
- Forgery or alteration of documents
- Unauthorized alteration or manipulation of computer files
- Improper and wasteful activity
- Falsification of reports to management or external agencies
- Pursuit of a benefit or advantage in violation of the University's conflict of interests policy
- Authorization or receipt of compensation for hours not worked
For additional policy information, please refer to MTSU Policy 71, Preventing and Reporting Fraud, Waste, and Abuse.
Think Before You Speak
Before making allegations of dishonesty, be sure of any claims. Such allegations can seriously and negatively affect the accused person's life and adversely affect the working environment in the person's department.
Several options are available to all University employees, students, and others for reporting known or suspected dishonest acts. You may report your concerns to the following:
- Your supervisor or department head
- An official at the University
- Audit and Consulting Services by phone at (615) 898-2914, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the online form.
- The Tennessee Comptroller's Hotline for Fraud, Waste, and Abuse at 1-800-232-5454 or online at comptroller.tn.gov/hotline
If you are a supervisor, department head, or campus official and you receive a report of a dishonest act, do not investigate, but rather contact Audit and Consulting Services at (615) 898-2914 for further assistance.
When the Office of Audit and Consulting Services receives allegations of dishonesty or possible waste or abuse by an employee, outside contractor, or vendor, it is required to conduct an investigation.
Management should NOT attempt to conduct investigations or alert suspected employees of an impending investigation.
In an investigation, objectives include verifying the facts, maintaining objectivity and confidentiality, determining responsibility, and recommending corrective actions to help ensure that similar actions do not occur in the future.
Protection under State Law
State law provides protection for individuals by prohibiting discrimination or retaliation of any kind against these individuals who report, in good faith, allegations of fraud, waste, or abuse or for cooperating with auditors conducting an investigation.
A person who knowingly and willingly retaliates or takes adverse action of any kind against any person for reporting alleged wrongdoing pursuant to the provisions of TCA 49-14-103(b) commits a Class A misdemeanor.
The internal audit working papers, including allegations of fraud, waste, or abuse, and the individual reporting information to Audit and Consulting Services are confidential under state law, unless subject to court action requiring disclosure. If there is a separate legal obligation to investigate the complaint (e.g., complaints of illegal harassment or discrimination), anonymity or complete confidentiality cannot be guaranteed.
Audit and Consulting Services has reporting responsibility to the Audit and Compliance Committee of the MTSU Board of Trustees and the Comptroller of the Treasury. This reporting relationship enables Audit and Consulting Services to independently and objectively review matters involving any level of administration at the University.
For any fraud awareness concerns, please contact: