Report of Suspected Fraud, Waste or Abuse

According to the International Professional Practices Framework, promulgated by The Institute of Internal Auditors, fraud is “any illegal act characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust. These acts are not dependent upon the threat of violence or physical force. Frauds are perpetrated by parties and organizations to obtain money, property, or services; to avoid payment or loss of services; or to secure personal or business advantage.” Examples of frauds designed to directly benefit the individual committing the fraud include:

  • Authorizing or receiving compensation for hours not worked.
  • Acceptance of bribes or kickbacks.
  • Forgery or alteration of Foundation or University time or travel records.
  • Theft or misappropriation of funds, supplies, property, or other University resources.
  • Embezzlement, as typified by the misappropriation of money or property, and/or falsification of financial records to cover up a wrongful act.
  • Forgery or alteration of academic, or other, credentials.
  • Concealment or misrepresentation of events or data.
  • Careless and reckless activity.
  • Forgery or alteration of research project records.

Examples of frauds designed to benefit the organization include:

  • Prohibited business activities such as those which violate State and Federal laws, University and College policies and regulations, or contracts.
  • Sale or assignment of fictitious or misrepresented assets.
  • Improper payment such as illegal political contributions, bribes, kickbacks and payoffs to governmental officials, intermediaries of government officials, customers, or suppliers.
  • Intentional, improper related-party transactions in which one party receives some benefit not obtainable in an arm’s length transaction.
  • Intentional, improper representation or valuation of transactions, assets, liabilities, income, or expenses.

The State University of New York (SUNY) is committed to upholding the highest standard of honest behavior, ethical conduct, and fiduciary responsibility with respect to SUNY funds, resources, and property. As such, SUNY seeks to prevent and detect any fraud or irregularities and will diligently pursue any instance that involves SUNY-related activities or business.

Fraud and Irregularities, Policy on Fraud and Irregularities 

In addition please consider reviewing the following links as they may apply to the matter being reported.

Reporting Suspected Fraud, Waste and Abuse

SUNY Cortland is committed to the responsible stewardship of our funds and other resources and encourages any College employee or other individual who is aware of or suspects acts of fraud, waste, abuse or other irregular activities to report such acts. These activities include improper transactions, such as suspected thefts, losses, misuse or inappropriate action involving funds, equipment, time, facilities, vehicles, supplies or other assets. The College does not tolerate fraudulent or other dishonest behavior and will take appropriate action upon receiving such reports.

When to report fraud, waste or abuse:

SUNY Cortland employees with a reasonable basis for believing fraud, waste or abuse has occurred are responsible for reporting such incidents. Students and other interested individuals are strongly encouraged to report known or suspected acts of fraud, waste or abuse. Please familiarize yourself with the definitions below before filing a report.

What we need to know

  • Your name, email address and phone number (Unless you choose to remain anonymous)
  • A description of the alleged wrongdoing (what happened and how)
  • individuals involved in the alleged wrongdoing and a description of their involvement
  • The identities of any witnesses to the alleged wrongdoing
  • The dates the alleged wrongdoing occurred and whether it is ongoing
  • The potential financial loss

In all cases, please include as much detail as possible regarding your specific concerns along with any relevant information or documentation you are able to provide. This will assist us in the review of the matter.

Confidentiality and Discretion

When you contact us with a report of known or suspected wrongful activity, regardless of the method you choose to use, although you are not required to identify yourself, we strongly encourage you to do so in the event additional questions arise during the course of our evaluation and/or investigation.

If you choose to identify yourself, your identity will be treated as confidential to the extent permitted by law. You should also know that retaliation against anyone who has made a report in good faith under this process is strictly prohibited. Intentional use of this process to make false allegations may subject the maker to disciplinary action.

Due to confidentiality concerns, it may not be possible to inform users of the process or outcome of any investigation or other action taken.

If you are a supervisor, department head or university official and you receive a report of known or suspected fraud, waste or abuse from any party, you should contact the Office of Risk Management immediately. Do not confront, question, notify or terminate the suspected employee or accept the resignation of an employee who is suspected of, or admits to, fraudulent conduct.

Handling of Reports

Upon receipt of a report, the Office of Risk Management will take appropriate steps to determine the type of allegation and gather additional information needed to evaluate whether a formal inquiry is warranted. If a formal inquiry is warranted, the Office of Risk Management will work with the Office of University Counsel and/or other persons, College departments or University-related entities as necessary to fully investigate the situation. [e.g.: Office of Risk Management makes the threshold determination then works with those individuals / groups needed to fully explore the situation].

Activities that should not be reported using this mechanism

This reporting mechanism is intended for faculty, staff, students, and others to report suspected fraud, waste, abuse or irregular activities. Dishonest acts or misconduct outside the scope of this hotline include:

  • academic dishonesty (e.g. plagiarism, cheating, falsification of research results);
  • privacy concerns;
  • discrimination or sexual harassment;
  • conduct resulting in safety or environmental hazards.

These types of issues should be brought to the attention of the appropriate College offices in accordance with applicable College policies.


Fraud: Obtaining money or some other personal benefit by deliberate deception to the detriment of another party or organization. Fraud may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Theft, misappropriation or unauthorized use of funds, supplies, property or other resources;
  • Forgery or alteration of documents (whether financial, operational or academic);
  • Unauthorized alteration or manipulation of computer files;
  • Falsification of reports to management or external agencies;
  • Authorization or receipt of compensation for hours not worked;
  • Pursuit or receipt of a benefit or advantage in violation of SUNY Policy 6001: Conflict of Interest, Public Officers Law and/or Executive Order 7.

Waste: The intentional or unintentional, thoughtless or careless expenditure, consumption, mismanagement, use, or squandering of College resources to the detriment or potential detriment of the College. Waste also includes incurring unnecessary costs as a result of inefficient or ineffective practices, systems or controls.

Abuse: Employing one’s position or any University resource in a manner contrary to applicable laws policies or generally accepted practices. This includes intentional destruction, diversion, manipulation, misapplication or misuse of assets, information, systems, relationships or other resources. 

How to report fraud, waste or abuse

Individuals with concerns regarding known or suspected acts of fraud, waste, or abuse may report their concerns through the online form link below, email, regular mail or phone:

Report suspected fraud

Regular Mail:
SUNY Cortland
Vice President for Finance and Management
Miller Building, Room 409
22 Graham Ave.
Cortland, NY 13045-0900

Phone - Fraud Hotline: 607-753-4581

Fraud Investigation

A fraud investigation may be performed by the SUNY System Administration, the Research Foundation, or University administrators. The conduct of each investigation is determined by the fraud policy of the agency performing the review.

When the reported fraudulent act is made on the campus, an initial review of any allegation is performed under the direction of the New York State University Police Department and the Risk Management Officer. They will consult with the Vice President for Administration to determine if a formal investigation is necessary. The investigation is conducted in accordance with the SUNY Cortland Policy.

Related Links