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Office of the City Auditor

What Constitutes Fraud, Waste, and Abuse?

Term Definition Examples
Fraud Any intentional act or omission designed to deceive others, resulting in the victim (City of San Diego) suffering a loss and/or the perpetrator achieving a gain.
  • Falsifying financial records to conceal the theft of money or City property.
  • Theft or misuse of City of San Diego money, equipment, supplies and/or other materials.
  • Intentionally misrepresenting the costs of good and services provided.
  • Soliciting or accepting a bribe or kickback.
  • Falsifying payroll information.
Waste The intentional or unintentional, thoughtless or careless expenditure, consumption, mismanagement, use, or squandering of City resources. Waste also includes incurring unnecessary costs because of inefficient or ineffective practices, systems, or controls.
  • Unnecessary spending of City funds to purchase supplies or equipment.
  • Failure to reuse or recycle major resources or reduce waste generation.
Abuse Intentional destruction, diversion, manipulation, misapplication, maltreatment, or misuse of City resources. Extravagant or excessive use as to abuse one's position or authority. Abuse can occur in financial or non-financial settings.
  • Failure to report damage to City equipment or property.
  • Receiving favor for awarding contacts to certain vendors.
  • Using one's position in one City department to gain an advantage over another City resident when conducting personal business in another City department.
  • Creating unneeded overtime.
  • Requesting staff to perform personal errands or work tasks for a supervisor or manager.
  • Misusing the official's position for personal gain. 1
  • Travel choices that are contrary to existing travel policies or are unnecessarily extravagant or expensive.
  • Making procurement or vendor selections that are contrary to existing policies or are unnecessarily extravagant or expensive.

1 Includes actions that could be perceived by an objective third party with knowledge of the relevant information as improperly benefiting an official's personal financial interests or those of an immediate or close family member; a general partner; an organization for which the official serves as an officer, director, trustee, or employee; or an organization with which the official is negotiating concerning future employment.