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Other OIG Activities

Investigations

The Office of Investigations investigates allegations of waste, fraud, abuse, gross mismanagement, employee and contractor misconduct, and criminal and civil violations of law that have an impact on the Institution's programs and operations. It refers matters to the U.S. Department of Justice whenever the OIG has reasonable grounds to believe there has been a violation of federal criminal law. The Office of Investigations also identifies fraud indicators and recommends measures to management to improve the Smithsonian's ability to protect itself against fraud and other wrongdoing.

Related documents:

Understanding the Investigative Process


Summaries of Selected Closed Cases and Complaints


Threat for Disclosing Information to the Inspector General

A Smithsonian employee reported that two employees threatened her and her child in retaliation for disclosing information to the OIG. During the course of the investigation, OIG agents discovered that one of these employees did not disclose a previous conviction, as required by Smithsonian policy. As a result, that employee was terminated. The other employee received a 5-day suspension for violating Smithsonian’s policies against workplace violence.


Workers Compensation Program Fraud

After enduring a 2009 injury while on duty, a former Smithsonian employee collected benefits of $3,300 per month from the Office of Workers Compensation Programs. OIG agents learned that this employee was convicted of a felony assault in 2013 and was serving a 15-year prison sentence. As an inmate, the former employee is not entitled to workers compensation benefits. In January 2015, the Smithsonian suspended his benefits due to his failure to submit a required annual form. As a result of the OIG investigation, the Smithsonian learned about the employee’s incarceration, which caused the long-term loss of his benefits. OIG estimates $273,900 in benefits payments were prevented.



Press Releases


Parking Lot Attendants Arrested

Three employees of Parking Management Inc. (PMI) were arrested on August 4, 2012 by agents of the Smithsonian Office of Inspector General and Federal Bureau of Investigation on charges of stealing at least $400,000 of visitor parking fees collected at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.


Click to read the full press release.

PMI Parking Lot Attendant Pleads Guilty

On September 28, 2012, Meseret Terefe, 36, of Silver Spring, Md., pled guilty to stealing at least $400,000 of visitor parking fees belonging to the Smithsonian Institution’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Scott S. Dahl, Inspector General for the Smithsonian Institution; and James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge T. S. Ellis III.


Click to read the full press release.

Second PMI Parking Lot Attendant Pleads Guilty

On November 2, 2012, Freweyni Mebrahtu, 45, of Sterling, Virginia, pled guilty to stealing at least $400,000 of visitor parking fees belonging to the Smithsonian Institution’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Scott S. Dahl, Inspector General for the Smithsonian Institution; and James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge T. S. Ellis III.


Click to read the full press release.

Former Parking Lot Attendant Sentenced

Freweyni Mebrahtu, 46, of Sterling, Va., was sentenced on February 8, 2013, to 27 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for stealing nearly $900,000 in visitor parking fees when she was employed by Parking Management, Inc., (PMI), the company contracted to manage parking services at the Smithsonian Institution’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Scott S. Dahl, Inspector General for the Smithsonian Institution; and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge T.S. Ellis, III.


Click to read the full press release.

Parking Lot Manager Pleads Guilty

Abeselom Hailemariam, 33, of Alexandria, Va., pleaded guilty today for his participation in a conspiracy to steal approximately $1.4 million of visitor parking fees when he was employed by Parking Management, Inc., (PMI), the company contracted to manage parking services at the Smithsonian Institution’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Scott S. Dahl, Inspector General for the Smithsonian Institution; and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge T.S. Ellis, III.


Click to read the full press release.

Parking Lot Manager Sentenced

Abeselom Hailemariam, 33, of Alexandria, Va., was sentenced to 40 months in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay approximately $1.4 million in restitution, for his role in a conspiracy to steal approximately $1.4 million of visitor-parking fees from the Smithsonian Institution’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Scott S. Dahl, Inspector General for the Smithsonian Institution; and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge T.S. Ellis, III.


Click to read the full press release.

Legislative and Regulatory Review

The Inspector General Act mandates that our office monitor and review legislative and regulatory proposals for their impact on the Smithsonian's programs and operations and with an eye toward promoting economy, effectiveness, efficiency, and preventing fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement.

Outreach

Presentations on fraud awareness throughout the Smithsonian are a cornerstone of our efforts to prevent and detect waste, fraud, and abuse and promote economy, efficiency and effectiveness at the Smithsonian.

OIG Special Agents also make these presentations at bi-weekly new employee orientations held by the Institution's Office of Human Resources.


Involvement with Other Organizations

The OIG is actively involved with the Washington Metro Electronic Crimes Task Force, the Metropolitan Area Fraud Task Force, the Security Association of Financial Institutions workgroup, and the Interagency Fraud Risk Data Mining Group.

Recovery Act Oversight

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) of 2009 provided the Smithsonian Institution $25 million for Facilities Capital Improvements for the repair and revitalization of existing facilities. The Office of the Inspector General was responsible for oversight over the use of these funds.

Learn more

Peer Review

Government Auditing Standards require audit organizations to undergo external peer reviews by independent reviewers every three years. In our most recent peer review, the Office of the Inspector General for the United States Railroad Retirement Board concluded that our quality control system was designed to meet government auditing standards, and complied with those standards for the 15-month period ended March 31, 2014.

Download the August 2014 peer review report

Download the September 2011 peer review report

To assist other audit organizations in meeting their peer review requirements, we reviewed the system of audit quality control for the Corporation for National and Community Service's (CNCS) OIG. In our opinion, the system of quality control for the CNCS OIG in effect for the year ended September 30, 2012, was suitably designed and complied with to provide the CNCS OIG with reasonable assurance of performing and reporting in conformity with applicable professional standards in all material respects.

Download our CNCS peer review report

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