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Review of Travel Charge Card Delinquencies
Report Number I-2001-001
March 30, 2001


SUBJECT:      Review of Travel Charge Card Delinquencies, I-2001-001

While examining issues related to procurement cards, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) learned that Department of Justice (Department) employees were accruing significant unpaid travel charge card debts. We subsequently determined that this unpaid debt for Department employees over a two-year period (November 1998 to December 2000) amounted to $1.2 million.

We conducted a review of Department travel charge card delinquencies using a snapshot of Department cardholders who were 120 to 180 days delinquent as of January 1, 2001. The list of delinquent cardholders provided by the Department's contractor, Bank One, consisted of 150 cardholders owing a total of $361,087. Within that group, individual debt ranged from $15 to $23,139. From the list, we selected a sample of cardholders who owed at least $5,000 or who were employed in Department offices with three or more delinquent cardholders. Our resulting sample included 64 cardholders, in 25 offices, owing a total of $236,718 (see attachment).

We then telephonically contacted the designated travel card coordinators for the offices in our sample to assess their procedures for monitoring delinquencies and to obtain detailed information on individual delinquencies. We asked the coordinators to explain what they had done regarding the delinquencies, and, in some cases, we acquired information about an individual delinquency from the delinquent employee's supervisor. We also contacted the overall travel card coordinator for each Department component to discuss how the coordinator administers the travel card program and to obtain written procedures (if they existed), which we assessed. We also discussed procedures with the Bank One official responsible for the Department's account and examined a variety of Bank One reports and data.

This report contains the results of our review of the following Department components: the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the Offices, Boards, and Divisions (OBDs) 1, the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), UNICOR (BOP's Federal Prison Industries), and the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS). Because of the large number of INS delinquencies that appeared in our sample, we will issue a separate report to INS.

Overall, we concluded that Department components, with the exception of INS, have adequate practices for monitoring their travel charge card programs. Nonetheless, we identified weaknesses and inconsistencies in travel card procedures and the implementation of the travel charge card program. This report outlines our suggestions for improving administration of the program and ultimately reducing delinquencies.

  1. The Offices, Boards, and Divisions that were included in our sample are the Tax Division, the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, and one U.S. Attorney's office (USAO).