4-4: Fraud, Waste, and Abuse

Policy Overview

Santa Fe Community College (SFCC or College) has established this fraud, waste, and abuse policy to ensure that all workers clearly understand their obligations as College employees.

Scope and Applicability

This policy outlines responsible stewardship of College property and applies to all employees.

Policy Statement

Honesty and integrity are important values at SFCC. The College works to earn the trust of the public, its students, and its employees. To accomplish this, all employees must perform their duties in a professional, honest and ethical manner avoiding situations that would be considered fraudulent, wasteful or abusive of College assets. The College expects its employees to be reliable and trustworthy. All employees must act honestly and responsibly and exercise good ethical judgment in the performance of their duties.


  1. Abuse Involves behavior that is deficient or improper when compared with behavior that a prudent person would consider a reasonable and necessary business practice given the facts and circumstances. Abuse includes misuse of authority or position for personal financial interest or those of an immediate or close family member or business associate.
  2. Employee is any member of the college workforce: all staff (regular full-time, regular part-time, term, temporary, probationary, sensitive position); all student employees; all faculty (full-time, part-time, adjunct, probationary); all administrators, including interim; all contract employees.
  3. Fraud An intentional act to deceive, steal or cheat, ordinarily for the purpose or result of causing a detriment to another and/or bringing about some benefit to oneself or others.
  4. Waste An act resulting in the expenditure, consumption, mismanagement, and use or squandering of institutional assets or resources to the detriment or potential detriment of the institution. Waste may also result from incurring unnecessary expenses due to inefficient or ineffective practices, systems or controls.

Policy Process

A. Responsibility for Detection and Prevention

    1. Supervisors have an additional responsibility to be aware of the types of fraudulent activities, waste and/or abuse that may occur within their department and to establish and maintain controls to prevent them.
    2. If fraud is suspected within a department, all supervisors shall cooperate fully with College authorities and any other agencies investigating the activity.
    3. If fraud is discovered, all supervisors shall take appropriate action and implement appropriate systems to prevent recurrence.

B. Discipline and Restitution

      1. An employee who violates this policy may be subject to disciplinary action up to, and including, termination. The discipline imposed will depend on the severity of the violation and the circumstances of the situation.
      2. If appropriate, the College will report any activity that appears to violate any local, state or federal law to the appropriate authorities.
      3. If the fraud, waste or abuse involves a financial loss to the College, SFCC may seek restitution from any individuals involved in the activity.

C. No Retaliation

  1. SFCC strictly prohibits retaliation for reporting suspected fraud.
  2. Any employee who believes they have been retaliated against should report their concern to the Office of Human Resources.
  3. Any employee who directly or indirectly retaliates against another employee for reporting suspected fraud may be subject to disciplinary action.

D. Reporting

  1. Any employee who has a reasonable basis for believing that fraudulent activity, waste or abuse has occurred must report it immediately to the Office of Human Resources. This may be done in person, by telephone or in writing. Reports about suspected fraudulent activity, waste or abuse may be made anonymously; however, in order for those reports to be investigated, sufficient information must be provided.
  2. Given the serious nature of fraud, waste and abuse allegations, employees should only discuss suspicions of fraud with the Office of Human Resources and with individuals the College specifically authorizes to investigate the allegations. Any employee who suspects fraud should not discuss the matter with the individual suspected of engaging in fraudulent activity.

E. Prohibited activities. Acts considered violations of this fraud, waste and abuse policy include, but are not limited to:

  1. Employees in positions of authority or supervision may not use those positions to direct others to perform activities unrelated to their proper College duties or to perform any act that would violate this policy;
  2. Falsifying or altering any College record or report, such as an application for employment, a medical report, a production record, a time record, a financial record, an absentee report, or a shipping and receiving record;
  3. Stealing, destroying, defacing or misusing College property or another’s property;
  4. Theft, misappropriation or unauthorized use of College funds, property or resources;
  5. Offering or accepting a bribe;
  6. Accepting a gift in exchange for influencing a business decision;
  7. Submitting, authorizing or receiving payment for goods or services not actually delivered or performed;
  8. Submitting, authorizing or receiving compensation for hours not actually worked;
  9. Other activities including the excessive personal use of cell phones, other portable electronics, or SFCC equipment and resources during work time; behavior that may interfere or disrupt one’s ability to be effective and productive in the workplace or another person’s ability to complete their job duties;
  10. Improper or unauthorized alteration or destruction of paper or electronic files, documents or data;
  11. Forgery or improper alteration of documents related to College business;
  12. Falsification of documents or reports, including creating false or misleading financial reports, or withholding relevant information;
  13. Improper record keeping or falsification of records related to financial transactions, student records, transcripts, timesheets, other payroll documentation or employment history;
  14. Incurring or allowing expenditures in excess of given authority;
  15. Violations of legal or contractual obligations of SFCC;
  16. Gambling on College property or using College equipment and resources to gamble (other than events approved by the President);
  17. Violation of SFCC policy on the acceptable use of computing and network resources, including, but not limited to, threats, abuse or harassment, as defined in SFCC policies made or transmitted via electronic forums, social media platforms or electronic mail (SFCC Policy 4-50 Employee Policy on Sexual Violence, Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking, SFCC Policy 7-1 Technology Usage, SFCC Policy 7-4 Electronic Mail, SFCC Policy 8-7 Social Media).

F. Investigation

  1. When an allegation of fraud, waste or abuse is reported, a Human Resources staff member will identify and contact the appropriate professionals needed to conduct a thorough and accurate investigation, including legal counsel, financial professionals (including the comptroller, auditors, accountants), and any other experts.
  2. The investigation may include interviewing co-workers, reviewing activities of the employee in question, and examining records they produced, including all paper and electronic documents. The investigation may include checking College computers, including email accounts, offices and other workspaces. The Office of Human Resources may, in consultation with the employee’s supervisor and the College’s legal counsel, recommend to the President that the employee be suspended while the investigation takes place.
  3. When the investigation is complete, if a Notice of Disciplinary Action is required, it will be done in accordance with SFCC Policy 4-2 Employee Corrective Action and Disciplinary Action.

Statement of Accountability and Responsibility

The President, through the Vice President for Strategy and Organizational Effectiveness and the Office of Human Resources, shall be responsible for enforcing human resources policies and procedures. The Office of Human Resources shall work with the different departments and offices to comply with this policy and to develop procedures that will enforce this policy regarding awareness, prevention, and remediation.


SFCC Policy 4-2 Employee Corrective Action and Disciplinary Action
SFCC Policy 4-50 SFCC Employee Policy on Sexual Violence, Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking
SFCC Policy 7-1 Technology Resources, Usage and Security
SFCC Policy 7-4 Electronic Mail
SFCC Policy 8-7 Social Media


SFCC Governing Board approved: 09/28/2006
Revised and Governing Board approved: 6/22/2016

Associated Procedures