Refund fraud associated with prisoner Social Security numbers remains a problem, but the Internal Revenue Service isn't sharing that information with Congress or state and federal prison officials, a recently released Sept. 25 Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report says. Fraudulent tax returns filed using a prisoner's social security number rose from more than 37,000 returns in 2007 to more than 137,000 in 2012, TIGTA found.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services use a majority of practices for identifying prescription drug waste, fraud and abuse and plan to add three more practices, congressional investigators said. But the agency won't pursue a half dozen other known practices for several reasons.
For the 16th straight year, the Veterans Affairs Department will fail its annual cyberseurity audit, the VA's deputy assistant inspector general said at a recent congressional hearing. Most of the IT security recommendations issued in their reports persist year after year.
Two of the agencies participating in a Small Business Administration innovation program opted to open the program to small businesses that are majority-owned by venture capital firms, says a Nov. 20 Government Accountability Office report. The Health and Human Services Department and the Energy Department opted to open part of their Small Business Innovation Research programs to small businesses that are majority-owned by multiple venture capital or similar firms, allowing such companies to apply for and receive SBIR awards, the report says.
Postal service contract drivers didn't always comply with security clearance requirements and the Postal Service isn't adequately monitoring the process, says a Nov. 20 USPS inspector general report. The Postal Service requires contract drivers to obtain non-sensitive security clearances, which the Postal Inspection Service Security Investigations Service Center must renew every 4 years, the report (pdf) says.
The Postal Service currently lags behind competitors in the area of mobile services and digital payment technologies, but if it can improve its eCommerce offerings it will increase shipping and package revenue and remain relevant in the digital age, says the USPS Inspector General.
The Veterans Affairs Department fired the head of the Phoenix medical center that's been wrapped up in a scandal involving falsifying wait time records, the VA says in a Nov. 24 statement. The agency formally removed Sharon Helman, the director of the Phoenix VA Healthcare System, from federal service, the statement says.
Despite the varying level of interaction between federal homeland security and health officials with the the White House-appointed "Ebola czar," Ron Klain has improved coordination on the issue, said most testifying at a Senate hearing in which Klain was absent.
The new acting director of the Secret Service recently told congressional lawmakers that he's addressing communications failures and gaps in training that allowed a White House fence jumper in September to get as far as the East Room of the mansion.
While the Education Department has strengthened its information security programs, an internal audit said "longstanding weaknesses" could potentially leave systems vulnerable to serious threats. The department's inspector general said it had identified about a half dozen issues from reports in previous fiscal years. In some cases, the department didn't implement fixes even though it said it had done so.