The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) identifies fraud, abuse and illegal acts in Baltimore County government, by conducting investigations in response to complaints or tips and issuing reports of its findings to the County Executive, as well as the County Council when applicable.
A variety of situations may be considered fraud or abuse within Baltimore County government. Select a term below to learn more.
Fraud is defined as any intentional deception designed to:
- Unlawfully deprive the Baltimore County government of something of value; or
- Secure from the County for an individual a benefit, privilege, allowance or consideration to which the individual is not entitled.
Such practices include but are not limited to:
- The offer, payment, or acceptance of bribes or gratuities
- Making false statements
- Submitting false claims
- Evading or corrupting inspectors or other officials
- Deceit either by suppressing the truth or misrepresenting material facts
- Altering or substituting materials
- Falsifying records
- Arranging for secret profits, kickbacks or commissions
- Conspiring to commit any of these offenses
The term also includes conflict of interest cases and the unauthorized disclosure of official information relating to procurement matters.
For purposes of the OIG, abuse and misconduct are synonymous and used interchangeably. These are defined as making decisions or choices in one’s capacity as a Baltimore County employee that are excessive, improper, unethical, illegal, or that are otherwise detrimental to the County government or the citizens of Baltimore County.
Because the OIG’s mission includes promoting efficiency, accountability and integrity in Baltimore County government, the Office does investigate allegations of waste. Waste is defined as the use or expenditure of County resources carelessly, extravagantly, or for a purpose that is not in the best interest of the County government or the citizens of Baltimore County. This includes incurring unnecessary costs resulting from inefficient or ineffective practices, systems or controls.
Employee Rights and Obligations
Baltimore County employees are required to cooperate fully with any OIG investigation, as stated in Baltimore County Code Section 3-14-107(b). Cooperation includes being fully candid and forthcoming when interviewed and providing any requested records in the employee's possession or to which they have access. Baltimore County Code Section 3-14-107(a) gives the Office the following authorities:
- The right to obtain full and unrestricted access to all records, information, data, reports, plans, projections, matters, contracts, memoranda, correspondence, and any other materials, including electronic data, of the County government
- The authority to administer oaths or affirmations and take testimony relevant to any inquiry or investigation undertaken pursuant to this title
- The right of access to the head of any public entity, when necessary for purposes related to the work of the Office
- Subject to subsection (b) of this section, the power to require County employees to cooperate with the Office's investigations regarding fraud, waste, corruption, illegal acts and abuse
Employees are obligated to provide the most accurate and complete information possible. To prevent even the appearance that they are withholding pertinent information, employees should avoid narrowly construing interview questions or record requests and promptly provide requested records. Even when only a general question or issue is posed, the employee should still respond with specific information they recognize as being potentially relevant.
In Administrative Investigations
For an administrative case, an employee who is in a union may request that their union representative accompany them to an OIG interview. While the representative is permitted to be present for the interview, they are not permitted to ask or answer questions on behalf of the employee. An employee may also retain a private attorney, at their own personal expense, to represent them during an OIG interview. An attorney from the Office of Law cannot represent an employee during an OIG interview as the Office of Law represents County agencies and not individual employees.
In Criminal Investigations
For a case in which an employee has potential criminal exposure, the employee may assert their Fifth Amendment right to refuse to provide information on the grounds that the information might be used against them in a criminal proceeding. Under this circumstance, the OIG could still compel the employee to answer questions as a condition of their employment with Baltimore County, however, the employee’s statements would not be admissible as evidence at a subsequent criminal trial.
Our investigations are most successful when you provide as much pertinent information as possible about the alleged suspects, victims or areas of concern within Baltimore County government’s operations. The more information you provide, the more thorough of an investigation we can conduct in determining whether a crime or violation has been committed. If known, the following information should be provided for all relevant subjects, victims, witnesses and companies involved:
- Full names
- Phone numbers
- Email addresses
- Physical addresses
- Titles, positions and agencies of any involved County employees
It is also helpful to know as many facts about the alleged incident or violation, such as:
- The specific nature of the inappropriate act (give as many details as possible)
- The reasons why you believe the act is inappropriate
- The location where the act took place
- The date and time the act occurred
- Whether any evidence of the act exists and where the evidence is located
An individual may request confidentiality when reporting fraud, waste, abuse or an illegal act to the OIG. When you file your complaint or provide information, you must tell the OIG that you are requesting confidentiality or that you wish to remain anonymous. However, you are encouraged to identify yourself to the OIG so that we may follow up with you to obtain as many details about your complaint as possible to aid us in our investigation. If you give your name, your identity will be protected to the maximum extent allowed by law.
We conduct a preliminary assessment of the complaint to determine the credibility of the complaint and whether the OIG has jurisdiction. That process may involve someone from the OIG contacting you to obtain additional details about your complaint.
Pursuant to Article 3, Title 14 of the Baltimore County Code, the OIG has jurisdiction over Baltimore County government employees, resources, operations and vendors.
Some possible outcomes to a complaint are as follows, if the complaint:
- Does not pertain to Baltimore County government business—It gets referred to another local, state or federal government agency, or a nongovernmental organization if appropriate.
- Does pertain to Baltimore County government business:
- But does not fall within the OIG’s jurisdiction—It gets referred to the appropriate Baltimore County agency.
- But there was insufficient information provided with the complaint, a lack of initial evidence to corroborate the allegation(s), or concerns about the credibility of the complainant, then the complaint is closed administratively.
- And there are no concerns about the credibility of the complainant and there is sufficient information and initial evidence to support the complaint—An investigation is opened and it is assigned to an OIG investigator.
For matters that do not fall within the OIG’s jurisdiction, the OIG will advise you, when feasible, of the disposition of your complaint. For those matters that do fall within the OIG’s jurisdiction, the OIG will not provide details concerning actions that have been taken in response to a complaint, nor will the OIG provide updates during the course of an investigation. Unless you are contacted directly by one of our investigators regarding a complaint, there will be no communication from the OIG about pending matters.
- Determination made to close complaint after preliminary investigation.
- Determination made to convert to a full investigation after preliminary investigation.
- Determination that OIG report issued. See step 6.
- Determination that OIG report not issued.
OIG report initially issued to Administration and, when applicable, the County Council, with an option to provide a response to the report.
OIG report will be posted online.
File a Complaint Online
Submit a complaint using the form below.