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Policy Information

Date Established: 2/19/2010
Date Last Revised: 4/27/16
Category:
Administration and Governance
Responsible Office:
Vice President for Finance and Administration
Responsible Executive:
Vice President for Finance and Administration

Policy Contents

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Fraud and Irregularities - Awareness and Reporting Policy

Summary

The University at Buffalo will investigate and report suspected fraud and irregularities and will not tolerate retaliation against reporting employees.

Policy Statement

The University at Buffalo (UB, university) is committed to high standards of honest behavior, ethical conduct, and fiduciary responsibility. All members of the university community have a responsibility for stewardship of the university’s resources and are expected to report concerns if they have a reasonable basis for suspecting that fraud or other irregularities have occurred. The university will investigate reports of fraud or other irregularities. 

Protection From Retaliation

Consistent with New York State laws, employees and individuals who lawfully report suspected fraud, irregularities, waste, or abuse will not suffer discharge, demotion, suspension, threats, harassment, discrimination, or other forms of retaliation for reporting good faith concerns. Reports of retaliation will be reviewed and investigated in the same manner in which other allegations of misconduct are handled. The university will provide appropriate support to employees who report concerns.

Acting in Good Faith

Individuals who report concerns of suspected fraud or irregularities must act in good faith and have reasonable grounds for making the report. Allegations that prove to have been made maliciously or knowingly to be false are not protected under the good faith standard, and therefore are subject to discipline, up to and including termination.

Background

The University at Buffalo is committed to the stewardship of its resources. Managers are expected to maintain a work environment that promotes ethical and honest behavior and follow policies and procedures to prevent and detect irregularities including fraud, waste, and abuse. Employees, at all levels, should be aware of the risks inherent in their areas of responsibility and incorporate procedures in their business practices to safeguard the resources entrusted to them. 

Applicability

This policy applies to reports of fraud or irregularities involving university employees, officers, trustees, campus-related entities, vendors, consultants, contractors, funding sources, and other parties with a relationship to the university including activities at auxiliary service corporations, alumni associations, student associations and governments, Research Foundation (RF), and UB Foundation (UBF).

Definitions

Fraud

For purposes of this policy, fraud and irregularities include activities that are:

·  a misappropriation of assets

·  in violation of or non-compliant with any university, State University of New York (SUNY), New York State, Research Foundation (RF), or federal law, regulation, policy, or procedure

·  economically wasteful

·  an indication of gross misconduct or incompetency

·  an unethical, improper, or dishonest act.

Examples of fraud and irregularities involving any resources of the university, SUNY, RF, UBF, or state include but are not limited to:

·  theft of any asset including but not limited to money, tangible property, trade secrets, or intellectual property

·  misappropriation, misapplication, destruction, removal, or concealment of records, funds, supplies, furniture, fixtures, equipment, or other assets

·  inappropriate use of computer systems, including hacking and software piracy

·  unauthorized disclosure of confidential or proprietary information

·  unauthorized disclosure of personal information, medical information, or student educational records

·  authorizing or receiving compensation for hours not worked or not covered by appropriate and available leave (e.g., falsifying time records)

·  deceptive financial reporting

·  credit card and travel expense misuse or fraud

·  use of staff to perform personal errands, services, or tasks

·  alteration or falsification of a check, bank draft, account, or other university document

·  false claims by employees, students, vendors, or others associated with the university

·  bribery, kickbacks, bid rigging, and conflicts of interest

·  falsifying research results

·  violation of donor intent.

Good Faith

The good faith standard protects individuals who make a report, even if that report turns out to be incorrect; malicious or vindictive reporters who provide false information knowingly are not protected.

Responsibility

All Employees and Members of the University Community

  • Practice honesty and integrity in fulfilling their responsibilities.
  • Comply with all university, SUNY, RF, New York State, and federal laws, policies, regulations, and procedures.
  • Safeguard university resources under their control.
  • Be alert for any indication that fraud or irregularities might exist in their area.
  • Promptly report good faith concerns of any known or suspected fraud or irregularities.
  • Be truthful and cooperative in investigations of fraud and irregularities.

Managers and Supervisors

  • Maintain a work environment that promotes ethical and honest behavior.
  • Maintain confidentiality during investigations of fraud or irregularities.
  • Notify Internal Audit or the Chief of Staff to the Vice President for Finance and Administration (VPFA) when sufficient facts and circumstances exist to create a reasonable suspicion that a fraud or irregularity has occurred.
  • Support employees and protect them against retaliation with regard to reports of suspected fraud or irregularities.

Contact Information

Internal Audit
148 Parker Hall
Buffalo, NY  14214
Phone:  716-829-6947
Email:   ub-internalaudit@buffalo.edu

Chief of Staff to the Vice President for Finance and Administration
542 Capen Hall
Buffalo, NY  14260
Phone: 716-645-5144
Email:  vpfa@buffalo.edu

Related Information

Procedures:

Reporting Fraud and Irregularities

Individuals are encouraged to attempt to resolve their concerns at the most local level by communicating with their supervisor or other appropriate person. If an individual feels uncomfortable addressing their concerns at the local level, is not satisfied with the supervisor’s response, or does not have a supervisor (e.g., student, trustee), they may contact:

 

Fraud and Irregularities - Reporting Options
Contact Contact Information
Your supervisor As appropriate
UB provost, vice president, dean As appropriate
Chief of Staff to the VPFA Phone:  716-645-5144
Internal Audit Phone:  716-829-6950
UB Police, Investigative Division Phone:  716-645-2222
University at Buffalo Police Silent Witness Reporting https://www.student-affairs.buffalo.edu/public-safety/silentwitness.php  
State University of New York System Fraud Hotline http://system.suny.edu/compliance/fraud-reporting/suny-fraud-hotline/  
Research Foundation Ethics Hotline Phone:  800-670-7225
https://www.compliance-helpline.com/rfsuny.jsp  
University at Buffalo Foundation Executive Director Phone:  716-645-3013

 

When reporting suspected fraud or irregularities, provide as much detail as possible, including a description of the incident, individuals involved, and financial loss, if any. The report may be submitted anonymously, however providing contact information may be helpful if questions arise. All reports will be reviewed objectively and without regard to the suspected individual’s length of service, position, title, or relationship with the university. The university will make every effort to maintain confidentiality throughout the investigation, to the extent permitted by law. Due to the confidential nature of certain actions of the university as part of the investigation process, the reporting individual may not be informed of the status and resolution of the matter.

Investigation

Individuals who receive a report of suspected fraud or irregularities where sufficient facts and circumstances exist to create a reasonable suspicion that a fraud or irregularity has occurred, must immediately notify Internal Audit or the Chief of Staff to the VPFA who will consider the allegations, gather additional information, and coordinate an investigation, as appropriate.

 

University Links:

Related Links:

History

April 2016 Full review. Revised to maintain compliance with the SUNY Procedure on Reporting and Reviewing Fraud and Irregularities.

Presidential Approval

Signed by President Satish K. Tripathi

Satish K. Tripathi, President

4/27/2016

Date