Government Fraud Faqs
What is the function of the Pennsylvania Office of State Inspector General?
The function of the Office of State Inspector General (OSIG) is to investigate allegations of fraud, waste, abuse, and corruption within the Executive Branch of Pennsylvania State government. The Office of State Inspector General is an objective investigatory agency. It does not represent a specific party or agency in an investigation and does not investigate on "behalf" of any one individual or agency. In addition, since 1994, the OSIG has been investigating welfare fraud and conducting collection activities for public assistance programs administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. The OSIG conducts investigations without regard to political affiliation, status, or influence.
When should I contact the Office of State Inspector General?
You should contact the OSIG whenever you have reason to suspect fraud, waste, abuse, or corruption within the Executive Branch of state government as well as when you have reason to suspect welfare fraud.
How do I file a complaint?
A complaint may be filed with this office in writing, preferably on one of our complaint forms, or orally by phone. You may file a complaint by:
- Submitting the online complaint form found on this website;
- Calling our office’s toll-free hotline at 1-855-FRAUD-PA (1-855-372-8372) or 717-787-6835;
- Mailing a completed complaint form to:
Office of the State Inspector General
555 Walnut Street, 8th Floor
Harrisburg PA 17101
- Visiting the office at the address above to speak with an OSIG investigator;
- Fax a complaint to 717-787-7921.
Can I file a complaint without fear of losing my job?
The Office of State Inspector General makes every attempt to keep your identity confidential. In addition, Pennsylvania law provides whistle-blower protection for state and local public employees who report wrongdoing.
Does the Office of Inspector General accept anonymous complaints?
Yes. However, you are encouraged to identify yourself so that we may follow up with you, if necessary, to obtain additional information that would aid in our investigation. Additionally, should you choose to remain anonymous, please provide the OSIG with as much detailed information in your complaint as possible to ensure we can take appropriate action.
How long does it take to complete an investigation?
We often receive inquiries about how long an investigation will last. Unfortunately, it is impossible for us to predict the length of an investigation. The time period is determined by the nature of the allegations, the number of interviews that need to be completed, the number of investigations already opened in the office, whether the case is undergoing criminal investigation by law enforcement, and the priority level of the case.
Will someone contact me from the Office of State Inspector General regarding my complaint?
Generally, we will contact you if we need additional information or clarification or to let you know that we will conduct a preliminary inquiry. A preliminary inquiry does not necessarily mean that an investigation will be opened. If appropriate, we may refer your concerns to another agency and advise you as such.
What happens after I file my complaint?
If the complaint alleges fraud, waste, abuse, or corruption in the Executive Branch, or welfare fraud, your complaint may be assigned to an investigator for review. The assignment process may be delayed due to the number of open complaints in the office. The complainant will receive written notification regarding the receipt of their complaint. Once assigned, the investigator will take the appropriate steps to fully investigate the allegations.
Are complaints kept confidential?
All records pertaining to an open investigation are considered confidential and therefore not subject to public release. However, once an investigation is closed, some records may be subject to review pursuant to Pennsylvania’s public records laws.
What is the Office of State Inspector General’s jurisdiction?
The Office of State Inspector General has jurisdiction over all state agencies and state employees within the Executive Branch of government including the Governor’s Office. Specifically excluded from the office’s jurisdiction are certain Boards and Commissions, any Independent Agencies, the General Assembly, Municipal and County Government and any Court. If the OSIG receives a complaint outside its jurisdiction, the complainant will be made aware of that fact. The OSIG can and does refer allegations to the agency with proper jurisdiction. The OSIG also receives complaints where allegations fall within the OSIG's jurisdiction, but the OSIG is not the most appropriate forum to address those concerns. In situations where the OSIG does not have jurisdiction or the OSIG is not the most appropriate forum for the complaint, we will refer the complainant to the appropriate organization by written notification and the complainant may wish to contact the appropriate organization to address those concerns.
What types of complaints does the Office of State Inspector General investigate?
The Office of State Inspector General investigates allegations of fraud, waste, abuse, and corruption including: serious or systematic abuse of time and travel regulations, misuse of equipment/supplies/facilities/vehicles, contract/grant administration/procurement/performance irregularities, state employment background investigations, conflict of interest/adverse interest violations, program fraud/mismanagement, program reviews, false statements/falsifications of records, misappropriation of funds, and fraud/theft in office (that is, full-time pay for work not performed), among others. This list is not exhaustive.
What types of complaints does the Office of State Inspector General decline?
We are not the appropriate forum for complaints related to city or municipal officials, county officials, federal officials or federal or state judges. We decline to investigate complaints where an employee is merely dissatisfied with a supervisor or work assignment. We also decline to investigate anything that has been fully adjudicated (administratively or in court) or is pending before an administrative agency or pending in civil or criminal court. Finally, we are not equipped to investigate prisoner complaints that have been adjudicated through administrative or criminal review channels.
What powers are available to the Office of State Inspector General?
Pursuant to Act 29 of 2017, the Office of State Inspector General has the authority to enter upon the premises of any state agency at any time without prior announcement, to inspect the premises or to investigate any complaint. The Office of Inspector General also has the authority to question any state employee serving in, any other person transacting business with, the state agency. In addition, the Office of Inspector General has the authority to inspect any copy any books, records, or papers in the possession of the state agency, except where otherwise prohibited by law. The OSIG may also serve subpoenas and apply for and execute search warrants as appropriate.
How large is the Office of State Inspector General?
The Office of State Inspector General is a relatively small investigative agency. Currently, the office is supported by a dedicated full-time staff of approximately 220 employees.
Is the Office of Inspector General a Law Enforcement Agency?
Yes. The Office of State Inspector General is a limited law enforcement agency and has been designated a Criminal Justice Agency by the Office of Attorney General. Any unlawful or criminal conduct discovered during the course of an investigation that is not within OSIG's jurisdiction will be referred to the appropriate law enforcement entity.
Does the Office of State Inspector General have subpoena power?
Are reports of investigations made available to the public?
The OIG believes that the citizens of the Commonwealth should be aware of the work they are doing to ensure integrity and accountability in government. As such, the OSIG publishes case summaries under the “publications” section of this website. OSIG may also publish investigative reports and other materials where appropriate.