Fraud Hotline

The Office of Internal Audit is committed to helping ensure that state funds are spent properly, but we cannot do it without YOUR help!

This webpage is designed to help clarify the purpose of the Fraud Hotline, how it works, and what you can do to help identify fraud, waste, and abuse.

It is important to note that the Office of Internal Audit encourages State employees to first report potential fraud, waste, and abuse to management. However if you are uncomfortable doing so, the OIA's Fraud Hotline provides an alternative method to report your concerns. All information is kept confidential.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you tell if you have witnessed fraud, waste, or abuse?

We all know the difference between right and wrong.  Sometimes a coworker may be doing something that everybody knows is wrong, but nobody says anything about it.  In order to help identify situations which are considered fraud, waste, or abuse, definitions are provided below.

Fraud – A false representation of the facts, including making false or misleading statements, or trying to hide wrongdoing by an individual(s) or an organization.  The deception is intentional and usually results in a benefit to the perpetrator and/or causes damage, harm, or loss to the State or others.  Example:  The falsification of financial records to cover up a theft of money or state property.

Waste – Unnecessary spending or careless squandering of the State’s resources, whether intentional or unintentional.  Sometimes, inefficient or ineffective business practices may result in waste.  Example:  The expenditure of state funds to purchase items that have no business purpose.

Abuse – Intentional destruction, diversion, manipulation, misapplication, mistreatment, or misuse of State resources; or the extravagant or excessive use of a person’s position or authority.  Abuse can occur in a financial or non-financial environment.  Example:  An employee taking time off from work without properly discharging leave time.

Why should you report fraud, waste, and abuse?

When fraud, waste, or abuse occurs within our State Government, the taxpayers of Rhode Island and State employees pay the price.  It is the OIA's goal to help promote an honest and ethical environment for State employees and to support a culture of compliance with laws and regulations.

What kind of reports should be submitted to the OIA's Fraud Hotline?

The OIA encourages the reporting of activities such as:

  • Suspected theft, waste, or misuse of the State's resources, including funds, property, and employee time
  • Intentional misuse of grant funds
  • Falsification of official documents (timesheets, leave reports, etc.)
  • Gross mismanagement
  • Gross neglect of duty
  • Gross misconduct by a state employee
  • Any violation of state or federal law (including regulations) by a state agency or employee

The following types of allegations should NOT be reported through the Hotline:

  • Allegations against private citizens and/or entities
  • Allegations involving employee grievances or discrimination complaints (these should be reported to Human Resources
  • Allegations against members of the legislative branch of government, including state senators, assembly members, and legislative staff
  • Allegations against constitutional officers of municipalities
  • Allegations against judges and judicial staff
  • Allegations against Federal government agencies and employees

Reports which specify criminal conduct will be forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

How will you be protected if you report fraud, waste, or abuse?

All reports go directly to the Office of Internal Audit and will be kept confidential.  If you wish to remain anonymous, we suggest that you set up a free, non-descript email account with an internet service provider for this purpose.  You may also call the OIA's Fraud Hotline, which is a secure voicemail service that allows for confidentiality of calls.  Your number will not appear on the caller ID.  However, we encourage you to leave a contact number and/or email address, so that we may follow-up with questions once we begin our review.  Please note that we may not be able to determine whether your complaint has merit if we are not able to interview you.

Additionally, the State of Rhode Island provides protection for certain individuals (whistleblowers) who make specific disclosures about the misuse of State funds.  For the Rhode Island General Law which states the protections offered to whistleblowers, please see RIGL § 28-50-3.

How can you file a report?

The best way to report fraud, waste, or abuse is by using the Fraud Complaint Form. If you are uncomfortable reporting in this manner, you may leave a voicemail on the Fraud Hotline by calling (401) 574-8175.  When calling the Hotline, the Fraud Complaint Form should be used as a guideline for what types of information to include in your report.

Reports should include all pertinent details of the alleged fraud, waste, abuse or misconduct. Examples of facts and circumstances to include are (1) A clear and concise description of what you are alleging to be fraudulent activity and why you believe it is improper; (2) how you know about the allegation; (3) how and when the misconduct was discovered; (4) the amount of money involved; (5) how long the alleged misconduct occurred; (6) the name and/or other information that clearly identifies the alleged violator(s); (7) attempts by the alleged violator(s) to hide the misconduct; (8) the names and contact information for any witnesses who are willing to be questioned and who can confirm your allegation; and (9) any other information you believe may be relevant. 

Submitting copies of any documents that will support your complaint is extremely helpful to our evaluation process. However, please submit copies of the documents, rather than the original documents, as they cannot be returned. If we need the original documents we will ask for them at a later time. If you have supporting documentation, please submit it via e-mail or mail them to OIA at the address provided below.

Rhode Island Office of Internal Audit
One Capitol Hill, 4th Floor
Providence, RI 02908
Phone: (401) 574-8175

What happens after you file a report?

Each report will initially go through the OIA's screening process.  This process includes an evaluation to determine whether or not the allegation involves fraud, waste, or abuse of state resources and whether the report contains sufficient details to conduct an effective review.  We will not undertake a review unless we have a basis for believing that your complaint has sufficient merit to warrant the expenditure of resources.

If the report passes the screening process, the allegation will be assigned to OIA staff for review.  If necessary, other State agencies may be included as the facts unfold. 

If you wish to identify yourself, we will keep you informed regarding the progress of your complaint.  However, if the matter involves law enforcement activity, there may be some items which must be kept confidential.

Fraud Hotline
Phone: (401) 574-8175
Fraud Complaint Form

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