OJP manages the majority of the Department’s grant programs and is responsible for developing initiatives to address crime at the state and local levels. OJP is composed of 5 bureaus – Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), and Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) – as well as the Community Capacity Development Office and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. In this section, we discuss OJP’s oversight of grant funds awarded through the regular appropriations process. We discuss our work related to OJP’s oversight of grant funds awarded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 in a separate section in this semiannual report.
The OIG conducts audit of various grants and other financial assistance provided by OJP to recipients outside of the Department. These recipients include state and local governments, universities, non-profit agencies, and for-profit agencies. During this reporting period, the OIG conducted four audits of external OJP recipients.
- The OIG audited two awards totaling $1,250,000 to Enough is Enough in Reston, Virginia, which creates educational programming to raise public awareness about the dangers of internet pornography and sexual predators, such as its Internet Safety 101 program that provided training to protect children from online threats. The audit found that Enough is Enough did not follow standard accounting practices and did not maintain adequate internal controls to ensure compliance with grant requirements. The audit questioned over $800,000 in unsupported or unallowable costs for reasons such as missing documentation, authorizations, vouchers, receipts, or invoices as well as drawdowns in excess of general ledger expenditures and unapproved budget transfers. The OIG recommended that OJJDP require that Enough is Enough remedy questioned costs and implement internal controls. OJJDP agreed with our recommendations and responded that it will coordinate with Enough is Enough to remedy all questioned costs and address internal control deficiencies.
- The OIG audited the cooperative agreement awarded to Occupational Research and Assessment, Incorporated (ORA), in Big Rapids, Michigan, for $898,349 for a forensic science training development and delivery program for stakeholders involved with the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. The audit found that while ORA was accomplishing or making adequate progress in meeting the grant objectives, some internal accounting weaknesses and reporting deficiencies existed. As a result, the audit questioned $138,310 in unsupported expenditures and recommended that OJP work with ORA to remedy these costs, improve accounting and internal control procedures, and correct reporting deficiencies. OJP agreed with the recommendations and is coordinating with ORA to implement appropriate corrective action.
- The OIG audited two grants totaling $5,057,900 awarded to the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) under the Using DNA Technology to Identify the Missing project. The University of North Texas Center for Human Identification, which is housed at the UNTHSC, receives federal funding to analyze DNA samples from both unidentified remains as well as reference samples from family members of missing persons. The audit could not verify the accuracy of the data included in the UNTHSC’s progress reports for lack of supporting documentation and questioned over $130,000 in costs due to unallowable salary expenses, an employee whose salary did not comply with a special condition, and unauthorized time charged to the grant. OJP agreed with the audit’s four recommendations and indicated it would coordinate with UNTHSC to remedy questioned costs, address the unallowable salary expenses and unauthorized time charged to the grant, and ensure that proper source documentation is maintained.
- The OIG audited a $1,124,000 award to the Best Friends Foundation (Best Friends), which operates several educational programs in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, and found that Best Friends did not maintain adequate internal controls to ensure compliance with grant requirements. Thus, internal control issues limited the OIG’s ability to reconcile financial status reports and drawdown requests to Best Friends’ accounting records. The audit also identified $182,881 in costs inappropriately charged to the grant. The OIG made 13 recommendations to OJP to work with Best Friends to remedy these costs and implement written policies to correct inadequate internal controls. OJP agreed with all 13 recommendations and indicated that it is working with Best Friends to remedy questioned costs and ensure it develops and implements strong accounting procedures.
During this reporting period, the OIG received 30 complaints involving OJP. The most common allegation made against OJP employees, contractors, or grantees was fraud.
During this reporting period, the OIG opened 11 cases. At the close of the reporting period, the OIG had 26 open criminal or administrative investigations of alleged misconduct related to OJP employees, contractors, or grantees. The majority of these criminal investigations were related to fraud.
The following are examples of cases involving OJP that the OIG’s Investigations Division investigated during this reporting period:
- On August 29, 2011, a retired naval officer was found guilty by a jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for filing a false claim with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and stealing approximately $151,000 from the government. The evidence at trial showed that the retired naval officer was stationed at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, and claimed that he was injured during the terrorist attack on the building. He claimed the injuries that he suffered prevented him from playing competitive lacrosse and doing home improvement work. The evidence showed that the retired naval officer continued to play competitive lacrosse, ran the New York City Marathon in November 2001, and falsified documents submitted to the Victim Compensation Fund. The investigation was conducted by the OIG’s Fraud Detection Office.
- On September 12, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ordered Mario Mastellone to pay a civil judgment of $3,241,367 for violating the False Claims Act. Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York, Mastellone submitted an application to the Department of Justice September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. In his application, he claimed that he was totally and permanently disabled in connection with the terrorist attacks. In June 2008, following a joint investigation by the OIG’s Fraud Detection Office and the New York Field Office, Mastellone pled guilty to stealing $1,076,789 from the fund and was sentenced to 30 months’ incarceration followed by 3 years of supervised release. The civil judgment against Mastellone ordered him to pay triple the amount stolen from the government.
OJJDP Award to the National Council on Crime and Delinquency
The OIG has initiated an audit of an OJP award made to the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) to support Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention research. Specifically, the award provides funding for NCCD’s project on Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative to Decrease Disproportionate Minority Contact and Detention of Status Offenders. The audit objectives are to determine whether the award was made fairly and appropriately, and determine whether NCCD has any actual or potential conflicts of interest that may adversely affect its performance under the award.