$110,000 in fraud and $22,000 waste found in Hamilton report


Published November 17, 2023 at 3:24 pm

Hamilton has released its annual fraud and waste report which found $110,000 in fraud and $22,000 in waste.

Four years ago, the city instituted a fraud and waste hotline which allows people to report suspected fraud and waste of municipal resources. The hotline began as a pilot project but was made a permanent program in 2023. Between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023, the hotline received 159 reports, which led to 13 investigations by the Auditor General.

These investigations in turn led to the firing of nine city employees and the resignation of five others. This is the highest number of firings since the hotline started. Additionally, a further four employees faced unspecified disciplinary action.

“The hotline continues to provide the public, City employees, contractors and vendors with a convenient, confidential and anonymous tool to report suspicion or proof of wrongdoing. It also supports the City’s goal of managing instances of fraud and waste within the organization and operating with honesty and integrity,” Hamilton said.

In total, the hotline has resulted in

  • 159 reports this year out of a total of 431 reports since 2019.
  • 48 per cent of reports come from employees and 52 per cent from the public
  • 31 per cent substantiation rate, and
  • 13 auditor general reports

Reporters have numerous means of informing the city of allegations including email (68 reports), online (58), over the phone (34), in person (3) and traditional mail (2). Of the 159 reports from 2022-2023, 72 were found to require a response.

Out of the 13 investigations launched, two constituted fraud, three constituted waste or mismanagement and five included both fraud and waste. Two other cases were brought forward by whistleblowers.

While 32 reports covered multiple categories of investigation, the largest single category was in social services which also sparked 32 reports. The runner-up was reports of Service Complaints at 28. A further 19 reports were found to be out of the Auditor General’s jurisdiction.

Less common complaints involved employee time theft (7), benefit fraud (6), conflict of interest (5), identity theft (5), improper finance reporting (4), waste (4), and theft (2). There was also one report each of contractor wrongdoing, fraud and public safety.

In total, the latest year of investigation uncovered $132,000 in losses. However, only $2,600 has been returned to the city in restitution.

inthehammer's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising