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The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Inspector General (OIG) is an independent federal agency that conducts audits, evaluations, and investigations, to safeguard HUD’s programs and operations from fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement. The Office of Investigation (OI) plans and conducts investigations in furtherance of that mission.  This page summarizes Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about HUD OIG and its components.

About HUD OIG

HUD OIG is an independent federal agency that conducts audits, evaluations, and investigations to safeguard HUD’s programs from fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement. HUD OIG uses traditional and innovative approaches to improve the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in the administration of HUD programs. HUD OIG also protects the integrity of HUD’s programs and operations by identifying opportunities for HUD programs to progress and succeed.

What is the Inspector General Act of 1978?

The Inspector General Act of 19781  (IG Act) created Offices of the Inspector General to be independent, objective units that conduct activities to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of their agencies’ programs and operations and to prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse.  OIGs have a reporting relationship with Congress and specific protections in the federal budget process.  HUD OIG is required to issue semi-annual reports to Congress summarizing its work during the preceding six months.  

[1] The Inspector General Act of 1978 is codified at 5 U.S.C. §§ 401-424.

Where does HUD OIG receive authority from?

The IG Act empowers HUD OIG to initiate and complete audits and investigations of HUD programs.  Based on the IG Act, HUD OIG reviews existing and proposed legislation, regulations, and policies. HUD OIG has a broad statutory right of access to all records available to HUD.

What is the top position in HUD OIG and how is it filled?

The top position at HUD OIG is the Inspector General.  The Inspector General is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The Inspector General must be selected without regard to political affiliation and based solely on integrity and demonstrated ability in accounting, auditing, financial analysis, law, management analysis, public administration, or investigations.

What types of jobs are at HUD OIG?

HUD OIG employees are dedicated professionals who detect and prevent fraud, waste, and abuse, against HUD programs. HUD OIG has many different employment opportunities, including auditors, evaluators, criminal investigators (Special Agents), forensic auditors, attorneys, investigative analysts, administrative officers, information technology experts, and other professional staff employees.

Who does the Inspector General (IG) report to?

The IG has independent oversight authority with a dual reporting responsibility to the head of the agency and the Congress.  The IG provides objective oversight on the efficiency and effectiveness of the agency’s programs and operations. 

What is the HUD OIG Vision?

HUD OIG’s vision is influential oversight through strategic collaboration, innovation, and independent work.

What is the HUD OIG Mission? 

HUD OIG’s mission is to safeguard HUD’s programs from fraud, waste, and abuse and identify opportunities for HUD programs to progress and succeed.

What is the OI Mission? 

OI supports HUD OIG’s mission by conducting thorough, accurate, and timely criminal, civil, and administrative investigations that prevent, detect, and respond to fraud, waste, abuse, and misconduct involving HUD programs and operations. 

What is the focus of the Office of Investigation?

OI is focused on the integrity of HUD’s programs, operations, and personnel; its program participants; program, procurement, and grant fraud schemes; mortgage insurance and other financial fraud; whistleblower retaliation; and other matters involving alleged violations of laws, rules, regulations, and policies. 

How many personnel does OI have?

OI is comprised of approximately 135 Special Agents and 50 professional staff employees.

What authority do HUD OIG Special Agents have?

HUD OIG Special Agents are authorized by federal law to carry firearms, make arrests, serve subpoenas, administer oaths, and investigate violations of law related to the programs and operations of HUD, or as assigned by the Inspector General.  HUD OIG agents are also authorized full, unfettered access to all HUD facilities and all documents related to any HUD program or operation held by any entity or individual. 

What are the general types of investigations that HUD OIG works?

OI investigates cases that may result in criminal charges, civil complaints, and administrative sanctions.

What are the HUD programs? How are they defrauded or misused?

HUD OIG investigates cases involving the more than 77 major HUD program and subprograms, including, but not limited to: mortgage fraud, Community Development Block Grant money, Section 8 low-income housing, Multi-Family Housing, nursing home insurance, hospital insurance, lead paint, environmental hazards, and sexual misconduct in HUD-funded housing.  
OI conducts investigations into the misuse or misappropriation of these funds, as well as other prohibited actions, such as: conflicts of interest, embezzlement, bribery, corruption, false statements, false claims, contract fraud, kickback schemes, grant and loan fraud, mortgage fraud, identity theft, bank and financial institution fraud, money laundering, bankruptcy fraud, and misconduct by landlords, owners, management companies, and organizations who receive HUD funding.

What is an OIG investigation?

OI focuses on possible violations of federal, state, and local laws or regulations in the administration of HUD programs and activities or misconduct by HUD employees or recipients of HUD funds. HUD OIG is required to detect and deter fraud and criminal activities throughout all of HUD's programs and entities that HUD oversees.
An investigation is carried out to resolve specific allegations, complaints, or information concerning possible violations of law, regulation, or policy. By contrast, an OIG audit or evaluation is conducted to examine organizational program performance or financial management matters, typically of a systemic nature.

What is HUD OIG’s investigative process?

Each HUD OIG investigation is unique. HUD OIG receive complaints or allegations from numerous sources, including media, public data, referrals from the public, and the OIG Hotline. Generally, allegations are reviewed and analyzed to determine if there is potential criminal conduct or civil issues that fall within HUD OIG’s authority. Special Agents conduct interviews, review, and analyze financial information, conduct digital forensics, and conduct other investigative activities to determine the facts and circumstances. OIG Special Agents work with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies, and prosecutors to bring criminal or civil charges when appropriate, based on the facts and the law. 

How is a HUD OIG investigation conducted?

Investigations are conducted through a variety of activities, including record reviews and document analysis, witness and subject interviews, IG and grand jury subpoenas, search warrants, and special techniques, such as consensual monitoring and undercover operations.  OI also coordinates with local and other federal law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, when appropriate.

What criminal offenses are commonly charged in HUD OIG investigations?

Common federal charges in OIG investigations include mail or wire fraud, false statements or information, conspiracy to defraud the United States, theft of government money or property, bank fraud, theft or bribery of federal funds, and identity theft.

How long does a typical HUD OIG investigation take?

OI seeks to conduct thorough, diligent, and objective investigations in a timely manner. The length of time to complete each investigation depends on a variety of factors. OIG cases often involve reviewing voluminous bank records, loan documents, or other financial data, which require a significant time commitment. Many federal investigations can take over 300 days to complete, based on resources, availability of information and documents, and other investigative activity.
HUD OIG works closely with state and local prosecutorial partners to charge under state law when applicable. 

How do I report a violation of fraud, waste or abuse related to a HUD program?

Report suspected fraud, waste or abuse to the HUD OIG Hotline at 1-800-347-3735 or visit the HUD OIG website at https://www.HUD OIG.gov/hotline

Can I submit information to HUD OIG anonymously?

Yes, anonymous complaints may be submitted to the HUD OIG hotline. 

What protections apply to me if I report fraud, waste, or abuse?

There are statutory whistleblower protections for federal employees/applicants and federal contractors and grantees who make protected disclosures about particular types of wrongdoing. HUD employees, contractors, subcontractors, grantees, subgrantees, and personal services contractors may be protected from retaliation for making a protected disclosure.  Learn more here: Whistleblower Rights | Office of Inspector General, Department of Housing and Urban Development (hudoig.gov)

What types of allegations should I report to HUD OIG?

Allegations concerning fraud, waste, abuse, or mismanagement in HUD or HUD-funded programs may be submitted to the HUD OIG Hotline. Hotline complaints may also be submitted anonymously.
Review common fraud schemes  involving various HUD programs, such as Community Planning and Development, Program frauds, Disaster Recovery, Ginnie Mae (the Government National Mortgage Association), Multifamily Housing, Public and Indian Housing, Rental Assistance Programs, and Single Family Mortgages. You may also be interested HUD OIG’s Fraud Bulletins to learn about fraud trends to be aware of.  
 

What happens after I submit an allegation to the HUD OIG hotline?

After initial review by HUD OIG, the Hotline can assign matters to any HUD OIG component, such as the Office of Audit, Office of Evaluation, Office of Special Inquiry, or OI. Allegations are reviewed to determine whether the matter falls within HUD OIG’s jurisdiction, and if the allegations are detailed and credible. The matter may then be opened as a complaint or a full investigation, referred to HUD for management action, referred to another agency, or closed. If the allegations do not meet legal or other requirements, it may be closed, and no action taken.

Can I expect someone from HUD OIG to contact me after I file an allegation to the Hotline?

OI Special Agents may contact complainants, but it depends on many factors, including whether the complaint is opened by OI Special Agents, and whether the complainant has provided contact information, is willing to discuss the information, or has provided documents that substantiate their allegations. If a Special Agent does contact you in person, they will have a gold badge that says “Office of Inspector General” with the HUD OIG seal and “Special Agent” across the bottom. They will also have credentials with their name, identification number, and title.

Does HUD OIG give public updates or comments about ongoing investigations?

Consistent with federal law and regulations, OI cannot and does not release information related to ongoing investigations. For information on resolved investigations, please see HUD OIG’s investigative press release page.

What happens when an investigation is complete?

At the conclusion of a criminal investigation, OI prepares a report that summarizes the facts and findings. The results of a HUD OIG investigation may be used for administrative action by HUD, as well as for criminal prosecution or civil action by the Department of Justice (DOJ) or state and local authorities.

Where can I learn more about HUD OIG investigative activities?

How do HUD OIG OI activities relate to me and my community?

HUD OIG investigations unearth facts about fraud, financial crime, public corruption, misconduct, and many other crimes that directly impact communities. For example:

  • HUD OIG hold public housing authority executive directors accountable when they embezzle funds for personal gain—funds which could have gone for repairs or new services to residents. 
  • HUD OIG hold landlords and management companies accountable when they commit or allow pervasive sexual harassment, lewd behavior, and other acts that make residents unsafe.
  • HUD OIG hold public officials accountable, such as when building inspectors take bribes, or when lead remediation efforts are done by unlicensed or untrained lead abatement contractors, or when they falsify documents.
  • HUD’s funding and operations touches nearly every county, city, and state in the country. Learn more about how HUD funds are being used by visiting HUD’s Community Assessment Reporting Tool (CART): https://egis.hud.gov/cart/

How do HUD OIG investigations originate?

Allegations of fraud, waste, abuse, and other irregularities concerning HUD programs and operations are received from various sources, including:

  • Hotline complaints from HUD employees, grantees, beneficiaries, and members of the public via website or phone.
  • Referrals from Government entities, including other law enforcement agencies, Congress, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the Government Accountability Office, and HUD program officials or public housing agencies.
  • Internal OIG audit referrals, investigative analyses, and other compelling sources.
  • Media and public reporting on issues that merit OIG’s attention.
  • False Claims Act (Qui Tam) lawsuits referred for investigation by DOJ.

What is a HUD OIG administrative subpoena and is it enforceable?

An IG subpoena is an administrative subpoena used by federal OIGs and is authorized by the IG Act.  An IG subpoena requires the recipient to provide documentary evidence, such as papers and records to an OIG.  If the recipient does not comply with an IG subpoena, HUD OIG can request that a federal district court enforce the subpoena. 5 U.S.C. § 406.  

When are entities and individuals required to disclose suspected wrongdoing to HUD OIG?

All federal Executive Branch employees, such as HUD employees, are required to disclose waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption to the appropriate authorities, such as an agency OIG.  See the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, 5 C.F.R. Part 2635.101(b)(11).  Contractors and grantees implementing projects with federal funds, and applicants for awards of federal funds, must comply with mandatory disclosure requirements in reporting allegations of fraud, bribery, and related criminal violations, as well as violations of the False Claims Act.  Failure to report may result in suspension or debarment.  See Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 52.203-13; FAR Part 3, Subpart 3.1003(a)(2); 2 C.F.R. 200.113.

Who can I contact about OIG's investigative process?

Contact the local HUD OIG office: Contacts & Locations | Office of Inspector General, Department of Housing and Urban Development (hudoig.gov). Report suspected fraud to the HUD OIG Hotline at 1-800-347-3735 or visit the website at, https://www.HUD OIG.gov/hotline
Updated: August 2023

NOTICE:
The following limitations apply to the FAQ responses provided on this page:

  • The informal feedback furnished on this site does not bind or obligate HUD OIG, HUD, the U.S. Department of Justice, or the U.S. Government. It likewise does not constitute legal or other advice; individuals should consult their own competent legal counsel for advice.
  • HUD OIG reserves the right to modify a question to provide a more useful or meaningful response.
  • HUD OIG reserves the right to not respond to a particular question. If OIG publishes informal feedback in response to a question, OIG may (but is not obligated to) notify the party that submitted the question.