The Inspector General Act of 1978 defines an Inspector General’s job as conducting and supervising audits and investigations, and keeping Congress informed of the problems and deficiencies they find.
In reality, however, an IG office’s job goes beyond finding problems. The same is true for other government investigative agencies. The true goal of an IG is to prevent fraud, waste and abuse. They do this in two ways. First, they achieve this goal directly by uncovering misconduct and attempting to correct it. Secondly, and more powerfully, their vigilance deters others who would try to defraud the government. Put simply, bad actors know they’re likely to get caught, and they stop trying to get away with bad behavior. In a government investigative agency’s world, Utopia will be reached when they’ve worked themselves out of business.
But don’t worry, that will never happen.
Why is it that no matter how much bad behavior an IG uncovers, and no matter how long the prison sentences are for the worst offenders, people still try to defraud the government? Why do people still attempt the most brazen and harebrained schemes, even knowing full well a government investigative agency is positioned to catch them? Here are three reasons that investigators never have to worry about working themselves out of a job.
One of the reasons that fraud happens at the upper echelons of government is that some people who have achieved much in life eventually believe they have become invincible, or that they are so brilliant that nobody could even catch their schemes. The schemes uncovered by these “leaders” are often quite simple, even if they are difficult to fully untangle because those around them are scared to betray a powerful politician.
- The Fraud Triangle
Many people who perpetrate a fraud scheme fall victim to the Fraud Triangle. Because they have convinced themselves they deserve the money they’re stealing, they may lose focus on the fact that they’re committing a crime. Eventually, they slip up, and leave tracks that lead to them.
- Public Demand
Even if IGs did manage to fully clean up the agency they oversee, the public will always understand what can happen to an agency without oversight. When Louisiana tried to defund their state Inspector General’s office to protect crooked politicians, the public responded with such anger that they were forced to quickly back down. Even if state or local legislative bodies were able to temporarily defund an agency, the corruption that ensued would ensure it’s eventual return.
For better or worse, no matter how hard investigative offices work, they’ll never work themselves out of a job. There’s always one more person who thinks they’re going to be the one that got away – and there will always be an investigator there to catch them.
To learn how CMTS helps government investigators close cases more efficiently, call us at 855-636-5361 or email us at Team_CMTS@MyCMTS.com.