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Fraud Hotline → FAQ

 

What is the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) fraud hotline?

The MCPS hotline is a mechanism by which any concerned individual can submit an alleged incident of fraud, waste, or abuse to a contracted third-party independent service provider.

Why did MCPS implement a fraud, waste, or abuse hotline?

MCPS implemented its hotline on February 1, 2010, to provide another deterrent to fraud, waste or abuse in the school system, and to communicate its commitment to protect public resources.

What is the purpose of the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) fraud, waste or abuse hotline?

The purpose of the hotline is to make it easier for a concerned individual to report possible fraud, waste, and abuse. An MCPS employee should first consider reporting any allegation of fraud, waste, or abuse to his/her immediate supervisor. If remaining anonymous is a consideration, he/she should use the hotline to report the allegation.

What is fraud, waste, or abuse?

Fraud is the commitment of an intentional action that is characterized either by deceit, concealment or violation of trust. Fraud is perpetrated by an individual to obtain money, property or services to which the individual committing the fraud would not be entitled to receive.

Waste is the inefficient use of MCPS resources. MCPS funds are wasted when they are used for unnecessary or extravagant expenditures. MCPS property is wasted when it is used in a greater quantity than would normally be necessary for completing an activity.

Abuse is the wrongful or improper use of MCPS resources that include the deliberate use of one’s position to act in a manner that is contrary to its rightful or legally authorized intended purpose.

Why should I report fraud, waste, or abuse?

The Board of Education (BOE) has demonstrated a commitment to protecting MCPS resources as well as maintaining high standards of integrity in the workplace to establish an environment that is both positive and productive in nature. By reporting any alleged illegal or improper activity, you are assisting the BOE with its commitment.

Who can file a report using the hotline?

The hotline is designed to accept reports from any concerned individual.

How can a concerned individual report an incident of fraud, waste, or abuse to the hotline?

The hotline is available on a 24-hour basis, seven days per week and has the capacity to receive anonymous reports in over 140 languages. Information can be provided to the hotline by any one of the following three methods:

Toll free telephone number: 877-268-8620

Web-based access: http://www.lighthouse-services.com/mcps (Click on Submit Incident Report button.)

E-mail address: reports@lighthouse-services.com

Who operates the hotline?

MCPS has contracted with Lighthouse Services, Inc., an independent company that provides hotline services to more than 700 customers.  The hotline provides a confidential means to anonymously report fraud, waste, or abuse.

What issues should be reported and what issues should not be reported?

MCPS has contracted with Lighthouse Services, Inc., an independent company that provides hotline services to more than 700 customers. The hotline provides a confidential means to anonymously report fraud, waste, or abuse.

Issues That Should Be Reported Via Hotline

Issues That Should Not Be Reported Via Hotline

  • Theft of MCPS funds or property.
  • Significant waste of MCPS funds or property.
  • Bribes, kickbacks, contract or procurement fraud.
  • Payroll fraud.
  • Reprisal against a person making a hotline report.
  • Abuse of authority.
  • Fraudulent reimbursement claims.
 
  • Day-to-day management issues.
  • Issues normally handled by the grievance process.
  • Employee benefits and compensation concerns.
  • Issues that are not the responsibility of MCPS.
  • Equal employee opportunity complaints.
 

 

What can I expect when I contact the fraud hotline?

When you call, you can expect a professional, courteous, and thorough interview conducted by a hotline operator from Lighthouse, the MCPS independent hotline contractor, who will guide you through a series of questions. Whether you make your report via telephone, web, or email, include as many details of the incident that are relevant.

What information should I provide when making a report?

  • Your MCPS location of incident.
  • Name(s) of the offender(s).
  • Where the incident occurred.
  • When the incident occurred.
  • How you became aware of the violation.
  • Did the incident occurred more than once?
  • Were you targeted in any way, and why?
  • Was any management involved?
 
  • Was anyone else involved?
  • Did property damage occur?
  • Was the incident reported to a supervisor?
  • If reported to a supervisor, to whom and when?
  • Did you report the incident outside of MCPS?
  • If reported outside MCPS, to whom and when?
  • Were there any witnesses?
 

You may add any additional comments you believe might be helpful for an expeditious resolution to your reported incident.

May I remain anonymous?

Yes. You may choose to remain anonymous. However, please keep in mind that your decision for anonymity may limit our ability to conduct a complete investigation.

If I choose to identify myself to the hotline service provider, will anyone else find out that I reported an incident of fraud, waste, or abuse?

If you identify yourself to the hotline service provider, your identity will only be provided to the Internal Audit Unit (IAU) or the Department of Performance Evaluation and Compliance (DPEC), depending on the type of incident reported. Should the investigation require other MCPS management to become involved, they also would need to be informed. Further, if an investigation results in criminal prosecution, it is possible that the records of IAU or DPEC may be subpoenaed by the court.

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