(Washington, DC) - Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) Director Linda K. Argo unveiled today a new public hotline for District residents, business owners and government employees to report suspected fraud and abuse by DCRA employees and customers.
The DCRA Office of Service Integrity (OSI), which has been in operation since December 2007, will operate the hotline and conduct investigations based on reports from District employees and the public. As always, you can report suspicious activity by calling the Mayor’s Call Center at 311. Those who wish to speak directly to the DCRA Office of Service Integrity and those who wish to remain anonymous can call the new hotline at (202) 442-8955.
“We absolutely do not tolerate any illegal or unethical activity,” Argo said. “We want to be as open and transparent as possible and provide as many an easily accessible way for the public to report any activity that appears suspicious.”
The new five-member unit includes two former federal investigators with more than four decades of experience investigating bribery, fraud, corruption, and financial crimes.
Argo said the decision to create the unit began last summer after DCRA officials uncovered a scheme by a Business License Center employee who demanded cash for phony late fees assessed to businesses seeking to renew elevator licenses. DCRA officials immediately reported the case to the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office and the former employee was found guilty Friday on two counts of bribery.
Argo said OSI is designed to mirror internal affairs units at the police and fire departments. OSI will also work closely with the Office of the Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the US Attorney’s Office to investigate and prosecute cases.
“We want the residents of the District of Columbia to have full confidence in DCRA, and this new office is the latest in a series of steps to ensure this confidence and trust and professionalize this agency,” Argo said.
This year all DCRA employees underwent extensive ethics training – sponsored by the US Attorney’s Office and the FBI – and DCRA is asking all current and future employees to sign and adhere to a new code of conduct.
Argo said she urges all customers to use the new hotline to report suspicious activity, questionable performance and other activities by employees, contractors or customers. Residents should continue to call (202) 442-4400 or visit dcra.dc.gov to submit normal comments or concerns, request services and for other communications.
“We want this office to be focused solely on ensuring the integrity of DCRA’s services,” Argo said. “We hope this can be a useful tool to prevent fraud and abuse.”
For more information, click the link for “Office of Service Integrity” here at dcra.dc.gov.