How To Report an Allegation of Misappropriation of University Assets

A misappropriation of UW-Madison assets includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • theft or embezzlement of cash, equipment or supplies
  • fraud in the form of falsification of official records, such as time sheets or travel expense reports;
  • misuse of university facilities, such as telephones, mail systems or computers

If you suspect that a misappropriation of University Assets has occurred, contact UW Police at 262-2958 or Accounting Services.

The matter will be investigated and action taken based on the policy and procedure on white collar crime and appropriate governance rights.


When allegations of misappropriation of UW-Madison assets are made against a university employee or student, at a minimum, the following matters need to be considered:

  1. Facts need to be gathered about the allegations.
  2. Records need to be secured to avoid alteration.
  3. The UW System Vice President for Business and Finance needs to be notified, in accordance with UW System Financial Policy and Procedure Paper #16, when there is any indication of actual or suspected theft, embezzlement or falsification of documents.
  4. Criminal prosecution may be necessary.
  5. Personnel action may be necessary.
  6. Restitution may need to be sought for any loss. This restitution may come from the employee or student, or from insurance funds.
  7. If extramural funds (federal or non-federal) were involved, the sponsor may need to be notified and/or reimbursed.
  8. Corrective entries may need to be made in university administrative records, such as financial ledgers or payroll/benefit records.
  9. Changes in procedures that allowed the misappropriation to take place may need to be made.

For the purposes of this document, a misappropriation of UW-Madison assets includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • theft or embezzlement of cash, equipment or supplies;
  • falsification of official records, such as time sheets or travel expense reports;
  • misuse of university facilities, such as telephones, mail systems or computers.

The procedures defined in this document are also available to investigate allegations of employee conflicts of interest or ethics violations involving the use of one’s public position for personal gain or advantage.

A number of UW-Madison support units may be involved in these considerations. The purpose of this document is to outline a procedure to:

  1. See that investigations are made in a fair manner, both to the university and the employee.
  2. See that actions taken are consistent from case to case.
  3. See that investigations are completed and actions taken in a timely manner.
  4. Ensure the Dean of Students is informed if the individual involved is a student, so they can assess appropriate disciplinary action (Regent Rules, UWS Chapter 17).
  5. See that university administrators are adequately informed of the status of ongoing investigations.

The most likely entry points for someone with information about a potential misappropriation are Administrative Legal Services, the UW Police Department (UWPD) and Internal Audit.  Primary management responsibility is placed in a Management Team consisting of the Director of Administrative Legal Services, the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Business Services and the Associate Vice Chancellor/Chief of Police.  In order to carry out day-to-day responsibilities, a Working Team consisting of an employee from Internal Audit, Human Resources, and UWPD will be formed.  An attorney from Administrative Legal Services will be assigned to each case.

Internal Audit will begin an inquiry by gathering facts about the allegations and assessing the internal controls in the units involved. Where appropriate, upon conclusion of the fact gathering, Internal Audit will provide a written audit report to the head of the unit involved (with a copy to the appropriate Dean or Director) outlining any changes that need to be made to internal controls. A separate written report will be prepared for the Working Team, reporting the facts uncovered. In the event the individual involved is a student, the Dean of Students will be notified so separate action can be undertaken as a case on non-academic misconduct. Such action is independent of any investigation conducted by Internal Audit and subsequent criminal prosecution, civil action and/or personnel action.

The Working Team will determine if criminal prosecution, civil action, and/or personnel action need to be explored based on the facts. If criminal prosecution needs to be explored, UWPD will investigate the allegation and will take the lead, with the District Attorney, to obtain subpoenas and search warrants for evidence to support prosecution. If personnel actions need to be explored, Administrative Legal Services will take the lead, with assistance from the Academic or Classified Personnel Offices and the unit involved. If civil action is indicated, Administrative Legal Services will take the lead, with the Attorney General, to file such action on behalf of the university. When the facts as uncovered by the Working Team indicate a possible misappropriation, the Working Team will also invoke, as appropriate, UW System FPPP 16.

Throughout the process steps described above, a quarterly, or more often if warranted, status report will be provided by the Working Team to the Management Team, describing the status of all investigations in process.  At appropriate points, the Management Team will make sure that other administrative offices, such as Risk Management, Research and Sponsored Programs, Accounting or Payroll Services, are brought in to take appropriate actions.