Special Investigations Unit (SIU)

Government Fraud Is a Crime.

Don't Do It. Don't Tolerate It.

Auditor of State Keith Faber takes the misuse and misappropriation of public money seriously, and is dedicated to raising awareness of the issue among all Ohioans.

The mission of the SIU is to promote transparency and accountability in the use of public funds, to expose fraud and corruption where it exists, and to assist law enforcement and prosecutors in the pursuit of justice.

Fighting Fraud and Corruption

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) brings together the disciplines of forensic accounting and fraud investigation, along with attorneys who have expertise in fraud and white-collar criminal prosecution to investigate government fraud.

The SIU process starts with a tip and could lead to a trial. When a tip or complaint is received, the Special Audit Task Force will evaluate it and decide whether that case falls under the authority of the Auditor of State's office. If it does, SIU will conduct a special audit and investigation to determine whether there was any criminal activity. At the conclusion of the investigation, the team will work with county or federal prosecutors to bring a case to trial. If requested, a prosecutor from the Auditor of State’s office will assist primary prosecutors by providing familiarity with the investigation and expertise in public-sector prosecutions.

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How We Investigate

Fraud & Noncompliance

1. We Receive a Tip

Each year, the Auditor of State’s office receives hundreds of tips regarding suspected fraud and noncompliance with laws in government. These tips come from many sources, including public employees and concerned citizens as well as state auditors who find suspicious activity during a routine financial audit.

Tips or complaints of fraud and noncompliance with the law in Ohio’s governments may be made at any time by any public employee or private citizen. Fraud may be reported via this website, the U.S. Mail, our mobile app, or the Auditor of State’s Fraud Hotline.

Hundreds of tips alleging fraud are collected each year. If you have a tip, learn more about how to report fraud.

2. We Evaluate the Tip

The Special Audit Task Force is a group of auditors and investigators led by Auditor Faber who evaluate tips and complaints received by the office.

If the Special Audit Task Force decides that a case falls under the authority of the Auditor of State’s office and involves probable fraud, theft, or noncompliance, it is sent to the Special Investigations Unit for further review. Cases that are not subject to the Auditor of State’s authority may be referred to other local, state, or federal government agencies, prosecutors, or law enforcement officers.

3. A Special Audit or Investigation Begins

Special Audits: A special audit is a limited-scope examination of financial records and other information designed to investigate allegations of fraud, theft, or misappropriation of funds – or to quantify the extent of such losses.

Special audits can be independent, stand-alone examinations, or can be conducted during a regular financial audit. Independent, stand-alone examinations are necessary when an allegation requires extensive testing or if a timely review is not possible during a regular financial audit.

When the examination is conducted during a regular financial audit, special auditors work with financial auditors to ensure proper testing is done to determine whether public funds are unaccounted for or have been illegally spent. Separate special audits may be necessary, for example, if an investigation requires a significant amount of detailed testing, or if timely review of the complaint is not possible during the regular audit.

Special Investigations: Special investigators gather information that is not readily available during the special audit; this might include bank statements or credit card records that must be obtained through a subpoena. Investigators also may conduct interviews to identify persons responsible for the loss of public funds.

Investigators work closely with special auditors and the Financial Audit section to determine whether criminal activity has occurred. They also promote a coordinated effort with local, state, and federal government and law enforcement officials to combat public corruption in Ohio.

4. We Work with Prosecutors to Determine Whether There Is a Case

Once fieldwork has been completed, the Auditor of State’s office will work with county or federal prosecutors to determine the next steps for a case. During each investigation, special auditors and investigators build a case file containing all information necessary to try a case if it goes to court.

Prosecutors have the option to work independently or to request the help of a special prosecutor from the Special Investigations Unit. The benefits of working with a special prosecutor from the Auditor’s office is the increased familiarity they have with the investigation and trial-court expertise in public-sector prosecutions.