Thread: Commentary on FireACT Fraud
03-24-2004, 11:33 AM #1
- Join Date
- Feb 2002
- Cypress, TX
Commentary on FireACT Fraud
Not that I'm the only one tapped for grant information or assistance, but I guess I can say I've been one of the most vocal ones, and possibly the most contacted by different people. Either way, I felt it necessary to post a comment on my web site after receiving an email this morning from someone that was unselfish enough to allow me to post their narrative on my web site for others to learn from. It wasn't their request that got me going, for that was more than fair of them to ask and I appreciated them being one of the first email me their narrative to post. What gets my goat is that the situation that caused them to want to pull the narrative even happened. The fire service has suffered another black eye (if not broken ribs) from the criminal acts of a few. My comments on the site follow:
I just removed a couple of narratives from a department that was concerned about fraud being committed from others using their narrative. A valid concern, but realistically there is no chance of them being found guilty of anything because they arenít writing another departmentís grant using their own application. The fraud was committed by one or more hired consultants and grant writers that submitted false information about the department, in some cases without the knowledge of the fire department because the outsider was the person with the registration information for the online application. Theoretically the department had no knowledge of what was submitted on their behalf. BUT, this does not excuse them from being responsible for that fraudulent information. All parties involved are guilty of fraud, all morally at this point, and most likely quite a few from a legal standpoint at a later date.
First, if you let the writer handle everything, how stupid can you be to let someone else submit something like a grant application on your behalf without reviewing it prior to submission? Maybe you were sweet talked by the writer, but shouldnít common sense have kicked in somewhere? I mean, we read every single line, small print, and detail when buying a fire truck, or even a flashlight for that matter, yet something as important as this fund raising opportunity like this you let someone else that has no stake in it run it without any supervision?
And if you reviewed a fraudulent application and submitted it anyway? I wonít even get started on that. My blood pressure is high enough already. All I can say is I hope you like orange jumpsuits because Iíll do what I can to make sure that those responsible are held accountable. There are brother and sister firefighters that are fighting fire in hooded sweatshirts, and you pull some BS like this? Pencil whipping? Luckily it doesnít look like theyíre going to stop the funding of the program because thereís so many more success stories compared to the 100 or so current causes of fraud. Save some face and own up to it now, because youíre going down no matter what.
But donít let this scare you off from hiring a writer. There are many, many upstanding grant writers out there. And not just me either . As I said before, we could use a quint, but obviously when I helped bring all of the narratives that I reviewed up to the same standards as I made my own, ours wasnít judged to be as beneficial as the others. So yes, I helped others win grants and that could have gotten our application denied funding. But guess what? I sleep pretty damn good at night knowing that I didnít BS anything on anyoneís application. The playing field was leveled, and the most worthy applications were approved for funding. Thatís the way itís supposed to be.
So if youíre on this web site to copy someone elseís work, itís not going to happen. Besides, donít think that youíre the first one that thought of copying and pasting something. If you were going to do it, there were probably 10 others that already did. Learn from this site, donít plagiarize it. And everything here is copyrighted per US Law by the author. It doesnít need to have a ďCopyrightedĒ statement anywhere. So youíve got that potential legal mess to deal with if you think youíre going to ďstealĒ a winner. Considering the publicity given to the fraud already, I think the peer reviewers are going to be on their toes this year. So use the age old adage as your guide: if you donít want to get caught committing a crime, donít commit one.
03-24-2004, 04:04 PM #2
- Join Date
- Jan 2001
Brian's website is nothing but a learning tool on how to effectively write a narrative. If your narrative is posted there you have nothing to worry about.
However, Like Brian said, if you take a narrative and copy it, you are responsible for what you submit. I realize there are many departments that are in need. You owe it to your department to evaluate what you need and write the narrative for it - don't copy someone elses narrative. For all we know, FEMA probably has a program that compares all the narratives character by character. I'm assuming that is how the ones from last year got caught.
Remember..You are responsible for what is submitted by your department. You are the only ones that have the password to submit your application. Make sure what you submit is valid and true. It will catch up to you if you dont.
03-24-2004, 08:42 PM #3
Brian's comments, as usual, are right on the money.
However, several of the naysayers of the FEMA program have already taken the low road in another forum here to again blast the program in it's entirety. They failed to recognize that the problem is not with the program and it's parameters but with they way companies applied for the grant money.
It was inevitable that the Feds would catch on to any problems like this once they got around to auditing the system and it's good to see that they intend to use these problems to clean up the program. It's a shame that, like Brian said, these companies were lead down the primrose path by their grantwriters and never bothered to check the finished product.Steve Dragon
FFII, Fire Instructor II, Fire Officer I, Fire Appartus Driver Operator Certified
Volunteers are never "off duty".
03-25-2004, 04:57 PM #4
- Join Date
- Feb 2001
- Illinois-where pertnear is close enough!
Well, I took the low road to get here, but I'd like to make a few comments.
Brian: though we haven't fully agreed on the program, I have lauded your efforts on behalf of the fire departments that you have helped.
You have nothing to be concerned about or to be afraid of because you have a class act.
Let me ask you all something. Who stands to gain the most from a successful grant? The optimists will say fire departments, but it's not. IT'S THE ONES BUILDING AND SELLING THE PRODUCT!
How many fire equipment companies are offering to assist departments with the writing of their grants? You think they are doing it because they're nice guys? Well, maybe a few are, but for the most part, it's about the MONEY. It's always about the money and where money is involved, corruption can rear its ugly head and has with the FIRE Act program.
I know some of you are disappointed, because you have steadfastly claimed that this was the perfect program. We have found out with this investigation that it is not. Some of us said that early on and were blasted for it. But you have to have a little cynicism when something looks "too good to be true". And where there are rules, there will be those who will find a way around the rules.
If this program is on solid ground, then it will survive this latest setback. But I don't think it's the fraud that you should worry about.
Remember; the funding for the Act was only guaranteed through 2005. It will be politics that will kill this program. Not my comments; not yours. It will die its death in Washington. And that's the reality. The money will be shifted to other Federal programs; most likely to law enforcement or the DOD.
And we, as we always have been, will be left to clean up the mess.
Those who got cute with the rules will soon discover that Uncle Sam doesn't appreciate "cute". Unless wearing prison orange is cute!
Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)
03-25-2004, 06:04 PM #5
Those who got cute with the rules will soon discover that Uncle Sam doesn't appreciate "cute".
- Join Date
- Mar 2003
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