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GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 14, 2007
CFO ANNOUNCES REFORMS AT TAX AND REVENUE
Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi
announced today reforms at the Office of Tax and Revenue as a result of
the tax fraud allegations.
The reforms include:
- 10 employees have either been removed or resigned from
the Office of Tax and Revenue.
We are continuing to review the entire OTR structure and
will take appropriate administrative action against those both directly
and indirectly responsible for this situation.
- Interim appointments - 6
- Ben Lorigo, Director of OTR (Director of OCFO's Office
of Integrity and Oversight) (bio attached)
- John Keenan, Director of Operations (OTR's Chief of
- Terry Hallihan, Director of Real Property
Tax Administration (RPTA) (OTR's Deputy Director of Compliance)
- Philip Appelbaum, Chief Assessor
- Doris Brown, Chief of Assessment Services Division (ASD)
f. TBD, Manager of Adjustments
Review of OTR Operations
- DC Inspector General:
- Ben Lorigo met with the IG November 9. A formal
request to the IG was made November 13 to complete a review of the Real
Property Tax Administration. The timeframe for completing the review
depends on when IG can obtain clearances from the US Attorney.
- Internal Revenue Service:
- A formal request was made November 13 for any
assistance the IRS can give, e.g., input to the information technology
staff from the perspective of a user of tax systems.
- U.S. Treasury Inspector General:
- An informal request has already been made for
auditors, retirees with backgrounds in tax administration.
- Judge Stanley Sporkin
- I have asked Judge Sporkin to be my personal advisor,
and to review OTR operations and all elements of the investigation, and
make recommendations to strengthen OTR controls.
- Judge Sporkin was Director of the Enforcement Division
at the SEC before becoming General Counsel at the CIA and a federal
- Expansion of 010 staff
- I am expanding our 010 staff to include 3 auditors who
will have specialized experience in auditing tax systems, and who will
be assigned full-time to conducting audits of OTR.
- All refunds $10,000 and over are being approved by
- A special unit will review all details of real
property tax refunds before they are finally authorized and paid.
- This will be manually controlled immediately.
- Within 30 days an IT fix will be implemented - a
"hold for review" queue in the Integrated Tax System (ITS)
when an RPT refund is generated in the system. The refund will be held
until an authorized user releases it.
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Sebastian (Ben) Lorigo
Executive Director, Office of Integrity and Oversight
As the head of 010, Mr. Lorigo created an audit and
investigative organization that is responsible for assuring the
integrity, efficiency and effectiveness of the operations of the Office
of the Chief Financial Officer. 010 audits and reviews cover a wide
range of significant financial operations and programs throughout the
District Government. 010 investigates alleged misconduct by OCFO
employees, conducts background investigations, and performs proactive
integrity probes of high-risk areas of OCFO operations.
When Mr. Lorigo joined the Office of the Chief Financial
Officer in 1998, he was charged with establishing an integrity program
for the OCFO, with specific emphasis on creating an internal security
program for the critical programs and operations of the Office of Tax
and Revenue. Mr. Lorigo was selected for this position upon his
retirement from the Internal Revenue Service where he capped a 30 year
career in federal law enforcement in several agencies.
At the IRS, Mr. Lorigo was the senior executive in charge
of the IRS Internal Security Division, which was responsible for
maintaining the integrity of the Internal Revenue Service, one of the
most sensitive and complex organizations in the federal government. In
this capacity, Mr. Lorigo managed an annual budget of $20 million and
directed a program performed by approximately 500 criminal investigators
nationwide. In addition to overseeing investigations of fraud and
corruption, he spearheaded the use of advanced computer technology in a
coordinated approach by investigators, auditors and technology experts
in developing proactive approaches to detect and prevent criminal
activity. A recognized leader in the federal investigative community,
Mr. Lorigo was responsible for briefing the Vice President on threats to
federal tax administration and representing the IRS on integrity and
security issues before Congress.
Mr. Lorigo, who has a Bachelor of Science degree in
accounting and a Masters in Business Administration, has been active
throughout his career in developing professional training courses, both
in government and in the academic community. He served on the training
committee of the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency and was
President of the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the Association of Criminal
Investigators. A Certified Fraud Examiner, Mr. Lorigo has addressed
groups in the U.S. and abroad on fraud and is recognized as an
accomplished educator and speaker on that topic.
For over 25 years, Mr. Lorigo was an adjunct professor at
George Washington University, where he developed and taught courses on
forensic accounting and computer fraud. He remains involved in the
academic area by serving as an instructor at the USDA Graduate School's
Government Audit Training Institute, where he teaches Contract and Procurement Fraud and the Prevention and Detection of