COVID-19 Related Fraud
by Tina Maier, CPA, CFE, CIG, Associate Director University Audit
In our last issue, we talked about the importance of fraud awareness and shared some training opportunities on how to increase your awareness. As we navigate through these strange times of COVID-19, being aware of fraud is even more vital. Fraudsters seize every opportunity to commit fraud especially when we are at our most vulnerable.
Below are the top-5 COVID-19 related fraud schemes predicted by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). The ACFE is the world’s largest anti-fraud organization and premier provider of anti-fraud training and education. https://www.acfe.com/about-the-acfe.aspx
In response to COVID-19, the federal government enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which provides funding to higher education institutions through the Department of Education to support students and higher education institutions with expenses and financial needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. More information can be found at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/faqs-higher-education-emergency-relief-fund-and-emergency-financial-aid-grants-under-the-cares-act.
To help ensure the university’s compliance with CARES and to proactively protect against potential fraud, University Audit is conducting a review of financial processes and internal controls governing the request, distribution, and use of emergency relief funding. This review encompasses several areas across the university including, Finance and Accounting, Human Resources, Student Financial Assistance, Office of Research, and Academic Affairs. University Compliance, Ethics, and Risk is also helping to ensure compliance through the population of a compliance matrix that lists the requirements, steps, and/or processes the university must follow to comply with the conditions set for accepting CARES Act funds.
Please stay vigilant to protect yourself and the university. If you have any questions or want to discuss internal controls needed in your area pertaining to relief funding, please don’t hesitate to contact University Audit. You can reach us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 407-823-2889.