The Bureau of Fiscal Services, a division of US Treasury, dispenses money to different recipients; Social Security (and Social Security Disability), VA benefits, Railroad retirement, Civil Service retirees, and others. The program created is Direct Express, and a Direct Express debit card was created. Comerica Bank twice won a bid to administer the program, then used a call center company, Conduent, to handle banking calls. Comerica Bank did not include ordinary safety parameters or transaction notifications on the Direct Express debit card, thus the fraud was rampant.
OIG Treasury commissioned an investigation based upon evidence and documents provided by J.B. Simms, a Direct Express card holder. OIG Chief Counsel (now commissioner) Richard Delmar commissioned the investigation, which has been ongoing since June 2018 to present (October, 2019). This investigation will examine Bureau of Fiscal Services, Comerica Bank, and Conduent.
News reporter Sandra Chapman of WTHR Indianapolis reported the following on September 26, 2019:
In a memo to the Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Fiscal Services, the Audit Director, Katherine Johnson, said the Office of the Inspector General of the Treasury was supposed to be alerted within one week of “any instance of a possible violation of federal criminal laws.” And that alert should have come related to the fraud in the Direct Express Program.
But Fiscal Services said due to the Right to Financial Privacy Act (RFPA), Comerica, the bank with the Direct Express contract, only reported “insider crimes” of fraud, bribery or embezzlement by its employees or subcontractors.
The OIG said that interpretation is inaccurate and that the limited information Comerica provided about fraud in the Direct Express program was not enough to launch an audit or investigation. That is why the Inspector General’s Office said it was unaware of the extent of the fraud involving nearly 500 victims nationwide, including Kreegar.
While this investigation continues, Bureau of Fiscal Services promotes the false notion that benefit recipients have to use the Direct Express debit card or have a bank account. This is not true, any debit card can be used to receive benefits. More of lack of oversight by Bureau of Fiscal services will be exposed.