NEW ORLEANS – The city inspector general’s annual report for 2013 crows about the audits and investigations that identified about $24 million in savings for the city and led to seven federal fraud convictions.
Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux called 2013 his office’s most productive year since its founding in 2008.
Quatrevaux’s report emphasizes the office’s “return on investment,” using a generous calculus to assert that it identified $24.3 million in potential savings for the city, 8.1 times the IG office’s net budget of $3 million.
That potential savings figure accounts for nearly half of the $54 million identified in the whole six-year history of the office and was also more than double the largest amount of savings the IG’s office had ever identified in a single year.
But that is not actual savings to the city. It’s simply a tally of how much the city could save if it eliminated waste and fraud.
For example, Quatrevaux’s auditors found that a third of residents’ sanitation bills are delinquent and $8.5 million in fees had gone uncollected. The city responded with steps to shut off water to those whose sanitation fees are not paid, but it does not mean the unpaid fees were collected.
The report uses an accepted FBI calculation to determine that the office’s fraud investigations prevented potential future losses of $14 million by shining a light on schemes that would have likely continued if they had not been exposed.