The Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury recovered a record-breaking amount of money from tips received from the office's Fraud, Abuse, and Waste Hotline.
Confidential tips to the hotline led to the recovery of $1,112,500 in confirmed thefts, shortages and questionable costs for the last fiscal year.
"You always have to remember the government takes away money from the people, and so it has a responsibility to use it for the people's good," said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson.
Tips to the hotline involved allegations against municipalities, counties, state agencies, federal agencies, and non-profit recipients of government funds.
"Fraud is as old as man kind. The question is, if it's more difficult to commit, then it's less likely to be committed," Wilson said.
The Comptroller said the hotline is one way for the people to help ensure tax dollars are spent on the intended use.
"Because it gives the people a chance to report what is misuse of government money, or government property," according to Wilson. "People are more responsible with other people's money if they know somebody might be looking."
You can call the 800-232-5454 during business hours and speak to someone in the Comptroller's office. You can also call after hours and leave a detailed message. You can also find a form on the Comptroller's website where you can fill out a form on-line. All information can be anonymous, and will be kept confidential.
"I am absolutely convinced it's a very vital tool in giving people confidence their money is being spent the way it's supposed to be spent," the Comptroller said.
The hotline was started in 1983 and has received 21,000 tips since it started. During the last fiscal year the office took nearly 1,000 tips through the hotline. Almost 500 of those tips were investigated and the office closed 78% of those cases.
Wilson said the hotline is an important tool in watching the people's money, but he said it is the state's goal not to investigate any fraud or theft.
"It's much more important to prevent the stealing from happening at all, the misuse of the property to happen at all, then to catch someone. The best way to do it is to stop it ahead of time," Wilson said.
The state's fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.