36 OFFICE. - VY y/ L~IITEDSTATESGENERALACCOUNTING WASHINGTON, D.C. 20548 DEFENSE DIVISION B-125037 Dear &. See~etary: In our letter of Septeniber 1.8, 1969, B-125037, we regm+x.d the results of a review of dependent travel claims paid by Army disbursing officers. In that letter we also advised you of our reviews in pro- gress of military dependent travel claims in the other services apld stated that we would advise you of any additional matters which we felt should be brought to your attention, This is a report on. our review of Air Force military dependent travel claims, Our findings have been &&G&&d with officials of the Air Force Aecmtiw and Finance Center (AFAFC), Denver, Colorado, We reviewed R random ssmple of 1,654 military depend-t travel vouchers paid by Air Force accounting and finance officers during the pexiod Decemberlgaj7 through March 1968. On the basis of iwf?mmation shown on the vouchers d obtained fr allo~@nt specords, hcm5ehokd3~4~ goods shipent records, orities$ we identified 93 / questionable cases, and referred them to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) in July and August 1969 for further investig&ion, The final report of the OSI investigations was furnished us by letter dated February 8, 1971, The investigations disclosed that in 24 of the cases, with payments totaling $4,348, the travel of dependents was not perfomed as claimed or was not performed for the purpose of establishing a bona fide residences, One additional ease for $139 had been previously found to be erroneous by the Air Force, The averse amount of the payments on these 25 cltis was about $179. Inforaation in the fiscal year 1969 Department of Defense military personnel hearings indicate thgit about 443,OCIQmilitary dependent travel el~ims were paid by the Air Force during fiscal year 1.968, !i%erefoaPe,if the rate of occurrence disclosed by our review were to p~evai.1 throughout the 443,000 cllms, we est sotimtely 6,700 impraper cl valving about $1.2 million were paid by the Air Force during fiscal year 2933 e 5QTH ANNIVERSARY4921.1971 sJ.ysis of the 25 cbxims ~lhcsws that they were imp (I) the dependents did not perform any travel in connection with memberet permanent change of station (PCS) orders, (2) the dependents were already residing at the destination address on the date the members0PCSorders were issued, (3) the dependents traveled, but not for the puxpose of establishi& a bona fide residence, or (4) the dependents traveled be- tweem points other than those claimed by the member. In aitiom t ndings in our review, 33 cases totaling $X2,243, involvi 5.qmper s of mil.itary dependent travel, have been re- ported to us as irre tfes by the AFA.??C2n accordance with 7 GAO 28~4, during the period January 1.968 through February 1971. These cases QNWPB brought to the attention of the Air Force grimari3.y on the basis of infoxww tion furnished by informer8 and by wives or former wives requesting finan- ci ce or the locatfon of the m In his reply dated November19, l&l, to our Letter of September 18, 1969, the Assist Secmt~ of Defense (C troller) stated that cm- sideration was befmg to the addition one item to the DD Form 1351-4 (Voucher or Cl for Dependent Travel and Dislocation or TrazUe~ ce), to indicate whether 8~" ot the household goods h shipped ana to arequire expJanati0~ in those c I!% sup- z%ls;ostated that the d be incl.uded in audits conducetedby the audit We have been info a ihat FD Ftxm -4 has been revis or&e the househobd goods emt in tion and or use by the services in Em forms has been exhausted, Centr cted audits of militazy d endemt -haTrePhave not been conducted by the r Force Auditor eral*d staff since our 1969 repoti because of the belief tha t needs existed in otbep finan-/ cial are?as. The Auditor ative Office located at the AJMFC was given the x=cbll, $971, of prepsaYinga set of audit Q be used by at base lwel. Umdel~the guidelines, the audit of mili endemt travel ti.xk be Ileft to the discretion of the various Auditor bar dition to the foFegoi%, the foU&ng actions were taken in response to the Sept e'9p18, 1969, r --The Assistant C. troUer of the fir Force for Accounti Finance disseminated copies of the report to a3.3.major c B-125037 emphasizing the need for closer surveillance and tighter controls over dependent travel payments and suggesting that a publicity program be initiated to indoctrinate membersabout the seriousness of submitting false in- formation. --The Air Force regulations were retised in September 1970, to require membersto show, in the remarks section of the DD Form 1351-4, the reason that their household goods were not shipped to the new address. (We reviewed 214 military dependent travel vouchers paid in December 1970, huwever, the vouchers dfd not show that household goods shipment information, as required by the regulation, had been considered.) The Air Force regulations provide that the c-der or his represent- ative is responsible for verifying, within his means, the intent of the dependents to establish a bona fide residence at the place shown on the claim voucher before such claim is transmitted to the accounting and finance officer, The regulation does not, however, prescribe the methods or techniques to be used by the cmder or his representative in making such verification and, thus, may not be accomplishing the desired objective, The use of the revised form, the publicity given to our 1969 report, and proper implementation of the revised regulation should help to reduce the type of improper p ents disclosed by our reviewc To further strengthen the remaining controls in this ter, WV4 believe that the Air Force regulations should be expanded to provide commandersor their representatives with specific guidelines as to how they should determine if the travel was performed for the purpose of establishing a bona fide residence. We still believe that some of the problems associated with the administration of dependent travel could be avoided by requiring adult dependents to furnish a notarized statement, as previously suggested in C4mtJtroller Ceneral*s letter, dated March 15, 1954 (B-61937), copy en- closed. We are making no ret endations at this time because of the corrective actions taken or contqlated subsequent to the period we reviewed. We suggest, however, that you request the Secretary of the Air Force to evaluate, within a reasonable time, the effectiveness of the actions taken and to advise us of the results of his inqpliry, We appreciate the cooperation and assistance of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations for its investigation of the questionable cases. -3- , Wewould appreciate your commentsand advice of any action t&en in this matter. A copy of this report is being sent to the Secretary of the Air Force. Sincerely yours, Director, Defense Diksion Enclosure The Honorable The Secretary of Defense -4- .7 ( ,- .. . . ._j .., ASSISTANT SFCFiFi-ARY GF DEF ENSZ WASHiNGTON 25, 0. C. COMPT’IOLLER 6. Issuance by t3-E b!ssist;irlt Secretary 0 f Defense (Iknpmm ,and I'ersonnel) of a policy directive settirg forth the disciplinary action to be tskcn xhe11frzxdulent claims are nade (DODlX~w- tive 1342,l da&d July 3, 1953, copy attached)," We believe that the comective action already taken and plans of the milit-ary departments for cor&,imed close scru.tlr~ of dcpcnckntst trc.vel cl&-m vi11 td.ihout undue delay pro%-eefEect?vc in stop$ng t,he pr~cZ,ice of subx!!tting fzlse claTm. AccorcXr@,v, 1,~ feel that there is na nmd at this tine for establishing a Dcfms o-Tkie reauiremnt, for the pmposed notxrizsd statment, Should it develop, ho:;cver, frox intori:z,3. cii:;cI.o- SUDS CC Gel'isrL!. ~~ccou~~tir!g Office mudit or investig??,ion sepmt.s that t‘r,e frz:cUer;t practice is not eliu&wt~ed, the prcbkn KXI. be rc2gJl’S~Sed in the light of such d.cvclop;m-uts, and you r.lr:y be nswred th?.t, th? adop- tion of the su~csted s'iatsmnt will be reconsider& Since3*ely9 - ..'; . SUBJECT Disciplimry Action to be Taken ?Vhcn Fraudulmt i Claims for Travel of lIspendent$j a1.E 1~Zad.e .
Review of Air Force Military Dependent Travel Claims
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-06-16.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)