Hanford employees fired over alleged fraud
By Annette Cary, Herald staff writer
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Fluor Hanford has fired three employees it believes are linked to the misuse of a federal government credit card issued for work at the Hanford nuclear reservation.
A single card was used to make fraudulent purchases over at least the past four years, according to a memo sent by Fluor Hanford President Con Murphy to employees Wednesday. Just one person was allowed to sign on the card.
The purchases included tools and electronic equipment, said Fluor spokeswoman Judy Connell.
Fluor became suspicious of purchases several months ago and started its own investigation. It notified the Department of Energy’s Office of Inspector General in June as it became apparent fraud likely had occurred. The Office of Inspector General is conducting a criminal investigation.
It’s seeking people who may have information about the misuse of the credit card and Murphy instructed employees who may know something to call investigators at 376-8828.
Fluor Hanford was limited in what it could say about the case because the federal investigation was continuing, Connell said. Fluor Hanford did not identify the people who lost their jobs, their positions or disclose the value of the fraudulent purchases.
About 130 Fluor Hanford employees out of 3,600 have been issued the government cards. The cards reduce transaction fees and lower costs for DOE work, Connell said.
Last year, $26 million was spent on the cards, which employees call P-cards, and about 30,000 purchases were made, she said.
Fluor has “significant oversight” of the program, Connell said.
Each month employees who have been issued a card have to reconcile their spending and sign off on it monthly, and the spending also is reconciled at a higher level in Fluor, she said. Audits also are conducted, she said.
“We are doing our own investigation into how to strengthen the P-card system so this doesn’t happen again,” she said.