Columbus – An online database of fraud complaints against public offices goes live today, according to Auditor of State Dave Yost. The web-based report system complements changes to Ohio law made last year by H.B. 66.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a case of fraud where no one knew what was going on before it was discovered,” said Auditor Yost, who served as a county and special prosecutor prior to 2011. “This law makes sure public employees and all Ohioans have a safe place to tell someone when something is wrong.”
H.B. 66 codifies a system first implemented by former Auditor of State Betty Montgomery. As of today, all public offices, including community schools, must inform employees of methods of reporting fraud, including the option of doing so anonymously. Public offices also must provide information about the fraud reporting system to all new hires, and all new employees must confirm within thirty days after beginning work that they received this information. Compliance with the law’s requirements will also be subject to regular auditing.
Reports may be made by all Ohio citizens through a toll-free telephone number, 866-FRAUD OH (1-866-372-8364), the Auditor of State’s website, or through United States mail.
All reports will be maintained in a public log that includes the nature of the complaint, the entity involved and the status of the resulting investigation. The law includes ‘whistleblower’ protections for all classified or unclassified civil service employees who use the Auditor of State’s fraud-reporting system, including a right to appeal retaliatory actions.
The Ohio Fraud Report System will be updated weekly, to include reports made as of today, the effective date of the H.B. 66 requirements. Information about the Fraud Reporting Hotline and the Ohio Fraud Report System may be found at http://www.ohioauditor.gov/fraudcenter.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,600 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.