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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of Inspector General (OIG) audited HUD’s travel and purchase card programs for fiscal year 2017 based on (1) our annual risk assessment of these programs and (2) our requirement under the Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act of 2012 to periodically review government travel and purchase cards.  The most recent travel card risk assessment found that there was a moderate risk of illegal, improper, or erroneous transactions occurring.  The Act required inspectors general to perform analyses or audits of government charge card programs as necessary.  Our audit objective was to determine whether HUD travel cards were used for unauthorized, unsupported, or ineligible purchases.

HUD’s travel cards were used for unauthorized, unsupported, or ineligible purchases in at least 950 instances totaling more than $95,000.  Based on the results of a statistical sample we drew from a pool of 3,045 purchases with indicators of improper activity, we estimate that at least 944 government travel card purchases totaling nearly $91,000 were unauthorized or unsupported.  We also identified 15 purchases totaling more than $5,000 that were ineligible.  Further, there could be additional unauthorized or ineligible purchases in the universe of more than 89,000 purchases that were not part of our targeted audit pool of 3,045 purchases.

We recommend that the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (1) review the 17 travel cardholders with purchases that occurred without a travel authorization and the 6 travel cardholders with purchases that were not supported to determine whether they were allowable, proper, and paid in full by the cardholder, taking appropriate administrative actions as necessary; (2) perform an analysis of the remainder of the 3,045 potentially improper travel card transactions to determine whether they were allowable, proper, and paid in full by the cardholder, taking appropriate administrative actions as necessary; and (3) refer the 15 ineligible travel card transactions to the appropriate program office for appropriate administrative actions; and (4) strengthen internal monitoring efforts.