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Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Whistleblower Hotline Program

The County of Sonoma is committed to accountability, transparency, fairness, and the prudent use of public funds. Our goal is to foster and maintain a work environment based on the principle of financial integrity. This Fraud Hotline is available to County employees, members of the public and vendors as a means to anonymously report instances of suspected fraud, waste or abuse occurring within the County of Sonoma Government.

Examples of fraud, waste and abuse handled by the Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Program include, but are not limited to:

  • Missing Cash
  • Embezzlement
  • Falsified Documents
  • Theft of Equipment and Supplies
  • Vendor Kickbacks
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Personal Use of County Assets
  • Bribery

In an Emergency

If you are currently experiencing an actual emergency, please dial 911.

Si está experimentando una emergencia actualmente, por favor llame al 911.

How to Report Allegations

There are several ways to report suspected fraud, waste or abuse:

What Information to Submit

Our office will need the information below to begin processing a complaint or concern:

  • Your name, email address, phone number, and mailing address unless you wish to remain anonymous.
  • Date(s) that the alleged incident(s) occurred.
  • Location where the alleged misconduct occurred.
  • County department, division or functional unit.
  • Name(s) of the individual(s) involved (if known). 
  • Detailed information of the alleged complaint/concern.
  • Type of complaint/concern (i.e. fraud, waste, abuse, etc.).
  • Relevant supporting documentation if applicable.

Privacy and Other Considerations

You may choose to remain anonymous when submitting a complaint. Calls made to this hotline are not traced. However, there may be circumstances during the course of the investigation in which a caller’s identity becomes apparent.

If you anonymously report suspected abuse, but provide information that may identify you, such as your name, email address or phone number, Sonoma County can protect your identity only as far as the California Public Records Act allows. Sonoma County cannot guarantee complete confidentiality because: (1) identification may be necessary to allow law enforcement officials to investigate or respond effectively to the report; (2) identification may be required by law; or (3) the person accused of the violations may be entitled to the information as a matter of legal right in disciplinary proceedings.

Investigations are only initiated upon receipt of credible information alleging an act of fraud, waste or abuse within the County of Sonoma Government.

The hotline provides Sonoma County employees an additional tool to report fraud, waste or abuse, and does not limit other reporting methods available to employees.

In accordance with California Labor Code section 1102.5 (b), the County of Sonoma, or any person acting on behalf of the County of Sonoma, is prohibited from retaliating against an employee for disclosing information, or because the County of Sonoma believes that the employee disclosed or may disclose information, to this Fraud Hotline, to a government or law enforcement agency, to a person with authority over the employee or another employee who has the authority to investigate, discover, or correct the violation or noncompliance, or for providing information to, or testifying before, any public body conducting an investigation, hearing, or inquiry, if the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of state or federal statute, or a violation of or noncompliance with a local, state, or federal rule or regulation, regardless of whether disclosing the information is part of the employee’s job duties.

General Definitions

Financial Fraud: Any intentional act or omission designed to deceive others that results in the victim (County of Sonoma) suffering a loss of money, property, or resulting in other disadvantage to the County’s resources or rights and/or the perpetrator achieving a gain of money, property or an advantage to which he/she would not normally be entitled.

Non-Financial Fraud: Any intentional false or misleading information provided to the public or a regulatory body or the unauthorized access to data, records and or information that exposes the victim (County of Sonoma) to adverse consequences.

Waste: The intentional or unintentional thoughtless, reckless or careless expenditure, consumption, mismanagement, use, or squandering of County resources.  Waste also includes incurring unnecessary costs because of inefficient or ineffective practices, systems, or controls.

Abuse: Intentional destruction, diversion, manipulation, misapplication, maltreatment, or misuse of County resources.  Abuse can occur when someone benefits in a financial manner and also when someone does not benefit financially. Extravagant or excessive use as to abuse one’s position or authority.  Abuse can occur in financial or non-financial settings. 

Program Documentation

For more information about the Fraud Hotline Program please review the program procedures and guidelines below: