State auditors find misuse of taxpayer money at DMV

State auditors find misuse of taxpayer money at DMV

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Unnecessary business trips and clocking hours state employees never worked are just some of the wrongdoings found at the Department of Motor Vehicles, according to its own audit.

Earlier this month, several employees were escorted out of DMV headquarters following an investigation that started with anonymous calls to the state's fraud, waste and abuse hotline.

"I saw people doing a lot of personal things on state time," said a whistleblower, who asked not to be identified for fear of losing their job. "I saw people take off many hours a week, every week and never record it as time off, and we would refer to that as stealing time."

The whistleblower says this was happening inside DMV State Headquarters in the Motor Carrier Division.

"I saw a lot of purchases for state vehicles that was unnecessary. I saw travel that was definitely not necessary. I saw one-person jobs where three people would be sent and not only for a day, but for three or four days," said the whistleblower.

These claims - along with others - led to an internal audit of the DMV.

The agency received 33 separate allegations in four hotline cases. Because many of the allegations were duplicates, the agency ultimately investigated 12 complaints, four of which were confirmed.

Several other claims were unsubstantiated, because camera footage from DMV headquarters was no longer available, there was a lack of an inventory process or equipment labeling, poor record keeping or there was not enough evidence or information provided to investigation the allegation.

Confirmed allegations included the misuse of the state credit card with at least $7,205.86 in questionable spending. The investigators also found excessive travel to the furthest weigh stations from Richmond - in New Church, Bland, Troutville and Stephen City. The travel required hotel stays.

Investigators found one employee spent 60 percent of their work days at the far-off weigh stations, a total of 119 days.

Several employees were caught on camera arriving late, taking extended lunches, spending long breaks in their vehicles and leaving early - racking up unnecessary hotel fees and other expenses for taxpayers.

"I'm a taxpayer; I want my money spent well."

The whistleblower believes the wrongdoings are isolated.

"I'd say it's isolated. DMV has some really good managers. This is not DMV-wide. There are some great directors, deputy directors, managers."

NBC12 requested an on-camera interview, but the DMV provided us with a statement through email:

"The types of activities alleged are unacceptable," said spokesperson Brandy Brubaker. "We continue to collect information and are following state standards for due process.  At the conclusion, we will review established facts and take appropriate action."

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