OAC Frequently Asked Questions
1. What should I do if I suspect someone is involved in fraud?
If you have grounds to suspect anyone is involved in any corrupt, criminal or otherwise inappropriate behavior, you must do the following: a) Immediately notify OAC by calling the fraud hotline (215.684.8300); and b) Keep the incident confidential - do not discuss it with anyone other than OAC's representatives
2. What if I have a complaint about the PHA Police Department?
OAC has oversight of the PHA Police Department, and as such, all civilian complaints made with regards to the PHA Police Department should be reported to OAC.
3. What happens to my complaint after it is made to OAC?
You will receive a letter from the OAC acknowledging receipt of your complaint (pending you leave a forwarding address). OAC will conduct an independent investigation based on your report and will ensure that criminal and/or administrative action is taken against the offenders, where appropriate.
4. What risks do I face if I engage or participate in fraud or corruption?
The risks include but are not limited to: loss of housing benefits; arrest and criminal prosecution; time in jail; substantial fines; loss of your job; loss of your pension; loss of status in your profession and community; personal anguish to you, your family and friends.
5. How do I report corruption to the OAC?
During office hours someone is always available to handle complaints and allegations. Reports of corruption can be made in the following ways: Telephone - 215.684.8300, Fax - 215.684.1212, Email - oac@pha.phila.gov, Mail - Office of Audit and Compliance, Intake Unit, 12. S. 23rd St., 5th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19103, In person - 12 S. 23rd St., 5th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19103.
6. Can I make an anonymous complaint and will my identity be kept confidential?
Yes, although anonymous complaints are accepted, it is helpful if a person provides name and contact information in case follow-up questions are necessary. OAC does everything possible to protect the complainant's request for confidentiality.
7. Who should report complaints to OAC?
As a PHA employee, you are obligated to report fraud, waste, abuse, and corruption - failure to do so hurts everyone. As a PHA tenant or voucher holder, you have a vested interest in ensuring that the valuable services that PHA offers are provided to those that need the services the most and are not wasted on those committing fraud. As a tax payer, you also have a vested interest to ensure that your federal tax dollars are being spent on those most vulnerable in need of PHA's valuable services. The OAC, PHA and PHA's Board of Commissioners encourages everyone -employees, tenants/voucher holders, and the public - to report their suspicions of wrongdoing. We are all a part of combating waste, fraud and abuse. It is OAC's job to evaluate the information - you need not become an investigator. The sooner OAC is told of an allegation, the better. Delays in reporting can hinder an investigation. You should not discuss OAC matters with anyone - especially if you have requested confidential status from us.
8. What happens if an OAC investigation substantiates an allegation of fraud or corruption?
OAC investigators are fact finders - any facts uncovered during the course of an investigation will be forwarded to the appropriate persons, departments and entities for consideration and required action. When appropriate, OAC refers substantiated cases to various area prosecutors for criminal prosecutors. It is up to the prosecutor to determine whether or not criminal charges will be filed.
9. Is OAC out to get me?
No. OAC's investigations stem from complaints OAC receives. OAC does not target individuals and does not engage in "gotcha games". OAC's directives, policies and procedures require that OAC have a reasonable basis for opening an investigation. Generally, that basis is established when OAC receives a complaint.
10. Does OAC have any evidence of fraud, corruption, wrong doing, conflicts of interest etc. at PHA?
Yes. Since its creation, OAC has identified and referred several matters for criminal prosecution. Please review OAC's annual reports for more information.
11. Will OAC inform me if I am under investigation?
It depends. If OAC determines that it would be necessary to contact you, while in the midst of an investigation, OAC will. That notification however may be a request for an interview.
12. If I'm an employee, will I be fired or disciplined for making a complaint to the OAC?
PHA must comply with the Whistleblower Law as defined in PHA's Human Resources Handbook, which protects employees who "blow the whistle" by making a complaint. Furthermore, PHA's managers and supervisors are not permitted to retaliate or take adverse personnel action against any employee because the employee has filed a complaint with the OAC. An employee who believes he/she has been retaliated against can file a whistleblower complaint with OAC. If the complaint is substantiated, the adverse personnel action will be reversed.
13. How will evidence of fraud or misconduct discovered in Audit and Compliance reviews be handled?
A referral will be made to the Investigations Division for follow-up action.
14. How long does a typical investigation take to complete?
OAC strives to complete all investigations within 180 days.