Report Suspected Fraud, Waste or Abuse
To help citizens and employees have a direct role, Sarasota County Government has established a toll free Fraud Hotline where callers can report suspected fraud, waste or abuse. Calls to the hotline will remain anonymous when proper reporting protocol is followed. The Fraud Hotline is managed by an independent, outside reporting agency. If anonymity is not important to you, you may identify yourself if you wish. When you call the Fraud Hotline, the interviewer will ask you if you would like to identify yourself.
The Investigative Services Team will review the allegations and determine if an investigation is warranted. The team gathers information and makes recommendations. The caller to the Hotline may be referred to Sarasota County Human Resources (to report Sarasota County employee harassment, discrimination or grievable labor issues) or to Sarasota County Ethics and Compliance (for reporting suspected or observed immoral or unethical employee practices). The Investigative Services Team does not make or enforce the rules. Referrals are made to the proper law enforcement agency when evidence suggests that a criminal activity is occurring, or may have occurred, that warrants a criminal investigation.
Call the toll free Fraud Hotline (855) 506-0304.
If you prefer not to use the Hotline, you may also report suspected fraud, waste, and abuse directly to the Sarasota County Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller Fraud Internal Audit Department via mail. Please address your mail to:
P.O. Box 3079
Sarasota, FL 34230
You may also fax your inquiry to (941) 861-5704.
For walk-in, please visit:
Sarasota County Administration Center
Internal Audit Department
1660 Ringling Boulevard
Sarasota, FL 34236
Definitions and Terminology
Fraud is defined by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners' fraud manual as any intentional or deliberate act to deprive another of property or money by guile, deception, or other unfair means. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Personal use of government-owned vehicles, supplies or equipment
- Violations of procurement policy
- Submitting false vouchers for reimbursements
- Soliciting or accepting a bribe or a kickback
- Intentionally misrepresenting the costs of goods or services provided
- Falsification of official documents (timesheets, leave reports, travel vouchers, financial records, etc.)
- Theft or misappropriation of funds, supplies, property, or other resources
- Forgery or alteration of financial documents or computer files
- Pursuit of a financial benefit or advantage in violation of conflict of interest policies
- Profiting by self or others as a result of inside knowledge
Waste refers to the unintentional, thoughtless or careless expenditure, consumption, mismanagement, use or squandering of government resources to the detriment or potential detriment of Sarasota County. Waste also includes unnecessary incurring of costs as a result of inefficient practices, systems, or controls. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Purchase of unneeded supplies or equipment
- Purchase of goods at inflated prices
- Failure to reuse or recycle major resources or reduce waste generation
Abuse refers to intentional, wrongful, or improper use or destruction of government resources, or seriously improper practice that does not involve prosecutable fraud. Abuse can include the excessive or improper use of an employee or official's position in a manner other than its rightful or legal use. Abuse can occur in financial or non-financial settings.