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The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians Improperly Administered Some Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program Funds for Fiscal Years 2010 Through 2013

Of the $10.0 million in Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) grant funds that the Administration for Children and Families awarded to the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians (TMT) for Federal fiscal years 2010 through 2013, TMT did not administer LIHEAP grant funds totaling $587,248 in compliance with Federal laws, regulations, and guidance. In addition, TMT could not determine whether an additional $96,932, which home energy suppliers had returned to the tribe, was subject to repayment because it did not track from which grant period those additional funds originated. TMT is a federally recognized Native American tribe located in North Dakota. The errors we identified occurred because TMT did not have policies and procedures or internal controls in place to prevent them.

We recommended that TMT refund $587,248 to the Federal Government and determine how much of the $96,932 that home energy suppliers returned to the tribe should be repaid to the Federal Government. We also made a number of procedural recommendations related to the development and implementation of policies and procedures and internal controls. TMT did not directly agree or disagree with most of our recommendations, but it disagreed with most of the findings that contributed to our recommended refund. Based on additional documentation that the tribe provided with its written comments on our draft report, we revised the dollar amount of our major finding and its recommended refund. Otherwise, we maintain that our findings and recommendations remain valid.

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