Senior Bureau Investigator Accused of P-Card Fraud

September 1, 2016

A 21-year veteran of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and member of the GBI command staff has resigned in lieu of termination after being investigated for allegedly misusing her GBI-issued purchasing card (P-Card).

Former GBI inspector Sandra Putnam has been accused of misusing her P-Card for more than $26,000 in personal purchases that she had shipped to her home over a period of three years. GBI officials have uncovered 192 suspicious transactions to date, and after conducting a search of her home found items such as a television, furniture and tires that had all been purchased with the company P-Card.

Putnam, who is not yet facing any charges related to the allegations, has been accused of altering transactions in the state’s P-Card management system to disguise the fraud.

The GBI alleges that she altered invoices in order to make them appear to be legitimate, business-related expenses, then entered the manipulated invoices into the P-Card management system.

The suspicious transactions were later revealed during a routine audit conducted by the Department of Administrative Services, which has led to the ongoing criminal investigation. Findings from the investigation will be passed along to the state Attorney General who will determine how to proceed from that point forward.

Department Wide Audit

The audit also led the state’s inspector general to question purchases made not just on Putnam’s card but on P-Cards belonging to four other GBI employees who didn’t realize that their cards had been used. In addition, another employee has resigned after it came to light that he had seemingly received items from Putnam that she had obtained fraudulently.

Cases such as this that occur over an extended period of time continue to highlight that routine audits are not the most effective way to detect and remediate breakdowns in internal controls around the use of P-Cards.

To realize a return on investment and successfully grow a P-Card program, a continuous monitoring solution, such as Alessa, is needed. It detects anomalies and non-compliance immediately, and then reports them to the compliance team for remediation.

In addition, it also reviews all available data, including human resources records, to reveal any discrepancies and increase the chance that assets will be recovered.

In the case of Ms. Putnam, the solution would have alerted the compliance team to the suspicious transactions and the non-compliant use of other employees’ P-Cards early on. To learn more about Alessa for monitoring p-cards, contact us for more information.

About Anu Sood 

Anu Sood (LinkedIn | Twitter) is the Director Marketing at CaseWare RCM and is responsible for the company’s global marketing strategy. She has over 20 years of experience in product development, product management, product marketing, corporate communications, demand generation, content marketing and strategic marketing in high-tech industries.

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