July 27-Aug. 9, 2001
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Fraud tracker favors local telephone call

By Matt Kelly

When tracking fraud and abuse, Barbara Deily thinks local is better.

Deily, director of audits for the University’s Internal Audit Department, investigates complaints of fraud, waste and abuse as part of her job. She believes her office can handle complaints more efficiently if they come to her directly instead of being filtered through the state hotline numbers, where the person on the other end of the line may not be familiar with U.Va. and its procedures.

“We prefer they call us first,” she said. “We can generally get better information from the caller.”

Deily said the telephones in her office lack caller ID features so informants can remain anonymous. If someone is not comfortable calling her office, an informant may contact the state hotline at (800) 723-1615.

Her office receives between 25 and 35 complaints a year, of which 25 percent have no validity, 50 percent fall in a grey area and the remaining 25 percent result in some form of disciplinary action.

“They could get a reprimand or some sort of action,” Deily said. “It could be anything from a slap on the wrist to termination.”

Deily said she cannot always tell the informant the outcome of the case, since disciplinary matters are confidential and the nature of the discipline may not be evident. Complainants may call back every few weeks to check on cases.

“Often there are very valid reasons for things that people think are waste or abuse,” Deily said. “But sometimes when all the facts are known, the situation might not be as bad as initially perceived.”

She said other complaints focused on employees charging long-distance personal telephone calls to the University or using University equipment in operating a private business.

She said she starts her investigations behind the scenes, tracking paperwork, studying vouchers and examining accounts. But she also noted that each case is different and requires its own approach.

Investigation of waste and fraud cases account for 5 to 10 percent of Deily’s workload, the rest consisting of standard financial audits.

Deily said employees looking to report cases of what may be waste, fraud or abuse should call her office at 924-4110 and ask for her, Caroline Fulk or Debby Kessler. Medical Center abuse should be reported to Ralph Traylor at 924-9741 or (800) 235-8700.


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