Pornography, diet pills, Nerf balls, cheesy romance novels and a popcorn machine. These are just a few things IRS employees used their corporate cards on and were not disciplined for doing so.
A new report has found 94 employees used the company card to splurge on personal items in 2010 and 2011,including 22 workers who had done it more than once in a six-month period.
According to the report, two IRS credit cards were used to buy online pornography, but the employees claimed their cards were stolen. One of the workers reported five agency credit cards lost or stolen. During the investigation, one IRS employee spent $2,655 on diet pills, romance novels, steaks, a smartphone and baby items. That’s a lot of diet pills.
Other purchases that were made, may not be considered fraud, but wasteful spending:
- $3,152 to rent a popcorn machine and to buy prizes for an employee event, including bandanas, stuffed animals, sunglasses and stovepipe hats.
- $418 for novelty decorations and swag at managers’ meetings, including kazoos, bathtub toys and ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ wristbands.
- $119 for Nerf footballs that were never used and were found stored in a filing cabinet.
IRS employees used agency credit cards to make more than 273,000 purchases totaling nearly $108 million in 2010 and 2011, most of which were legitimate. The IRS participates in the General Services Administration’s SmartPay purchase card program. Under the program, agency employees can use purchase cards, which act like credit cards, to buy work-related items. The maximum amount for an individual purchase is $3,000. More expensive items are subject to competitive pricing policies. In 2010 and 2011, internal controls at the IRS found 327 cases in which employees divided their purchases to skirt the $3,000 limit. The inspector general’s office found an additional 34 cases. In all, the purchases totaled $493,000, the report said. The report said 94 employees were responsible for the purchases, including 22 workers who had done it more than once in a six-month period. However, the report said, none of the employees were disciplined. As for the two IRS employees whose cards were used to buy pornography, the inspector general’s report didn’t determine who bought the material or whether their cards were actually stolen. One of the employees is no longer at the agency.
“Clearly, any inappropriate card use impacts our bottom line and is cause for concern,” said acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel, who took over the agency last month. “Wasteful spending cannot be tolerated, and any employees found to be abusing the system will be held accountable. In fact, we are following up on several inappropriate incidents mentioned in the report, ranging from internal actions to criminal charges.”
Maybe the IRS should do less investigation on other organizations and clean up their own backyard first.