The Commerce Department IG’s office has cited two cases of split purchases on government-issued purchase cards, saying that in one of them an office manager directed subordinate employees to do it.
Split purchases–in which the cost of a purchase of goods or services is divided into several transactions to keep the amount below thresholds that trigger more thorough scrutiny–has been a long-running issue with purchase cards.
The Commerce IG, in a report to OMB, said that it determined that a manager directed five employees to use purchase cards to split payments on monthly telecommunications invoices. It said that in another case two purchase cardholders made what appeared to be a split purchase and charged a transaction for which the amount approved was less than the total of the cost.
Misuse of purchase cards–along with travel cards and fleet cards, for which misuse also has been found in many agencies over many years–is part of the IG’s department-wide risk assessment that informs its audit plan.