A Day in the Life of an OSC Investigator
What does an OSC investigator do?
When I tell people I am an Investigator for the Office of the State Comptroller’s (OSC) Investigation Division, I often get a follow-up question of, “what does that mean?”
It’s a good question. OSC’s Investigations Division was formed in 2010 after the Legislature consolidated the powers of the Office of the Inspector General under OSC. Since then, OSC has been tasked with uncovering fraud, waste, and abuse in New Jersey government through investigations, evaluations, inspections, and reviews. As an Investigator, I gather the facts needed to determine whether fraud, waste, or abuse has occurred. Subsequently, if it is appropriate to do so, our team will issue an investigative report on the topic to the public.
A case begins in one of three ways: a case idea from someone at OSC; a referral from one of the other internal divisions of OSC or an outside agency; or a tip from a resident. Once we receive the information, we open a case and the investigative phase begins!
As we begin to research the complaint, we conduct public record searches and use our access to certain government databases in our review. From there, we work with our attorney counterparts to decide if we need to conduct additional research, request or subpoena documents, interview subjects and witnesses, or perform surveillance.
A large portion of the investigative phase is spent in analysis. Once we complete our information gathering, we have to put together the puzzle pieces of facts to see if any allegations of fraud, waste, or abuse are substantiated. Based on the facts uncovered, the Investigations Division then, if warranted, starts drafting a public report about the case.
During this stage of the process, the case team begins working on the report and conducting any necessary follow-up investigation. After a stringent internal review of facts presented in the report, the subjects of our investigation are given an opportunity to review a discussion draft and respond. After incorporating the subject’s response, we prepare to release the report with our findings to the general public and the media.
While I’ve spent 20 years as an investigator for the State of New Jersey in various departments, what I love particularly about this job is that every day, it is a little different. While I use the same investigative principles, the types of complaints we handle vary greatly from day to day.
Many of our Investigative Reports would not have been published without tips from residents. If you suspect New Jersey government waste, fraud, or abuse, contact OSC at 1-855-OSC-TIPS (672-8477) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Waste or Abuse
Waste or Abuse