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Immigration and Naturalization Service Expenditures Charged to the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces Program for Fiscal Years 1997 - 2002

Report No. 04-03
November 2003
Office of the Inspector General

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Executive Summary

The Executive Office (EO) for the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) was created in 1982 to take advantage of multi-agency cooperation and coordination to identify, investigate, and prosecute criminal enterprises engaged in high-level drug trafficking and related enterprises. In December 1986, the Attorney General designated the INS1 as an OCDETF Program participant. The INS and the other federal agencies participating in the OCDETF Program submit annual operating plans that outline how OCDETF funding will be used. Upon acceptance of these plans, the EO issues reimbursable agreements to each of the participating agencies.

In April of 2000, the General Accounting Office (GAO) initiated an audit into the INS's participation in antigang task forces in the Los Angeles area, including a review of whether OCDETF funds were inappropriately used to support gang-related investigations. As a result of their audit, GAO concluded that seven Los Angeles OCDETF dedicated agents had been reassigned to non-OCDETF cases and that the INS costs related to these agents were erroneously billed to the EO. GAO also tested a sample of the other direct costs billed to the EO and found that 67 percent of the amount tested was used for law enforcement purposes not directly related to OCDETF investigations. GAO also reported that interviews of other INS OCDETF regional coordinators outside of the Los Angeles area indicated that INS OCDETF dedicated agents in their regions were sometimes used for non-OCDETF purposes and that nonpayroll OCDETF funds should be, but were not always, used only for OCDETF cases. Consequently, the Department's Assistant Attorney General for Administration pledged to work with the EO and the INS to recover funds billed for non-OCDETF investigations, and to improve the internal controls over the billings by the INS.

We were engaged by the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Justice to perform an audit of the expenditures billed by the INS to the EO for the fiscal years 1997 through 2002. The objective of the audit was to determine whether costs submitted by the INS and reimbursed by the OCDETF Program were in accordance with criteria established by the EO.

Consistent with the earlier GAO audit, our audit disclosed that for fiscal years 1999 through 2002, the INS erroneously billed the EO for the salary and related benefit costs of INS OCDETF dedicated agents who reported time on monthly investigation time reports (G-22.12) to non-OCDETF related investigations. Based on our testing, which indicated 10.5 percent of INS's dedicated OCDETF agents' time was spent on non-OCDETF investigations; we project the total amount of non-OCDETF salary and related benefit costs that were charged to the OCDETF Program to be $3,082,782. Also, an additional $1,743,3082 of salary and related benefit costs were considered unsupported because the requested monthly investigation time reports were not provided to us by the INS. However, neither of these amounts includes salary and related benefit costs for fiscal years 1997 and 1998 because INS officials informed us that retention policies in place within the agency required that monthly investigation time reports only be maintained for a period of three years. Accordingly, we were unable to test any salary and related benefit costs for fiscal years 1997 and 1998 due to the timing of this audit.

We also tested the allowability of the other direct costs the INS billed the EO. Although we did not identify any instances of non-OCDETF other direct costs being billed to the EO, 55 percent or $1,847,6612 of the other direct costs were deemed to be unsupported because (a) we were unable to determine if they were actually for OCDETF-related purposes and/or (b) we were unable to determine if the goods or services had actually been received. Our inability to make this determination was due to a lack of adequate supporting documentation (i.e., either no supporting documentation was provided or the documentation that was provided could not be conclusively associated with the OCDETF Program). Furthermore, we were unable to complete our testing of the fiscal year 2002 other direct costs because the INS informed us that errors in calculating the amount of reimbursable costs were identified and were being corrected at the time this report was drafted.

The following table provides a summary of total questioned costs by fiscal year:

Summary of Questioned Costs
Non-OCDETF Costs (a) Unsupported Costs (b) Total Questioned
Total Invoiced
Salary & Benefits Salary & Benefits Other Direct Costs
1997 (c) (c) $ 41,417 $ 41,417 $ 10,030,000
1998 (c) (c) $ 69,736 $ 69,736 $10,350,000
1999 $ 781,918 $ 625,952 $ 6,806 $ 1,414,676 $ 10,719,000
2000 $ 1,082,291 $ 254,228 $ 1,510,889 $ 2,847,408 $ 14,980,362
2001 $ 645,522 $ 506,792 $ 218,813 $ 1,371,127 $ 15,092,400
2002 $ 573,051 $ 356,336 (c) $ 929,387 $ 13,063,000
Total $ 3,082,782 $ 1,743,308 $ 1,847,661 $ 6,673,751 $ 74,234,762
(a) Non-OCDETF costs are based upon the projection of the error rate identified during the testing of sample items.
(b) Unsupported costs represent only the costs of the sample items selected for testing.
(c) Testing was not performed for these years as discussed in Appendix I, Scope and Methodology.

Our audit was performed in accordance with the performance audit standards specified in the General Accounting Office's, Government Auditing Standards, 1994 Revision (Yellow Book) and Standards for Consulting Services issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

  1. In March 2003, the INS was abolished and its functions, personnel, and equipment were transferred to the Department of Homeland Security in accordance with the Homeland Security Act of 2002, Public Law 107-296. The former INS was separated into three bureaus - the Bureau of Immigration and Custom Enforcement, the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, and the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  2. As explained in Appendix I, Scope and Methodology, only the non-OCDETF costs were projected to the entire population. The unsupported costs represent only the costs of the sample items selected for testing.