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Office of Investigations

The Office of Investigations investigates allegations of waste, fraud, abuse, gross mismanagement, employee and contractor misconduct, and criminal and civil violations of law that have an impact on the Smithsonian's programs and operations. It refers matters to the U.S. Department of Justice whenever the OIG has reasonable grounds to believe there has been a violation of federal criminal law. The Office of Investigations also identifies fraud indicators and recommends measures to management to improve the Smithsonian's ability to protect itself against fraud and other wrongdoing.

The Office of Investigations is actively involved with the Washington Metro Electronic Crimes Task Force, the Metropolitan Area Fraud Task Force, the Security Association of Financial Institutions workgroup, and the Interagency Fraud Risk Data Mining Group.

Related documents:

Understanding the Investigative Process


Presentations on fraud awareness throughout the Smithsonian are a cornerstone of our efforts to prevent and detect waste, fraud, and abuse and promote economy, efficiency and effectiveness at the Smithsonian.

OIG Special Agents also make these presentations at bi-weekly new employee orientations held by the Institution's Office of Human Resources.

Download the presentation

Summaries of Selected Closed Cases and Complaints

Theft of Funds

On August 4, 2012, OIG and FBI agents arrested three employees of Parking Management Inc. (PMI) on August 4, 2012, on charges of stealing visitor parking fees collected at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. OIG agents determined that these PMI employees began stealing parking fees in April 2009, shortly after PMI took over management of the museum’s parking lot. On some days, each stole more than $4,000 from the Smithsonian.

On July 19, 2013, a former PMI on-site manager was sentenced to 40 months in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release and ordered to pay approximately $1.4 million in restitution for his role in a conspiracy to steal visitor-parking fees. Two other former PMI employees were sentenced to 20 months and 27 months in prison for their roles in the thefts. Another former PMI employee committed suicide.

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Return of Collections Items
OIG agents assisted Smithsonian curators in reviewing items seized in an outside organization’s investigation. We determined that 148 items of limited historical significance belonged to the Smithsonian collections. These items were returned to the Smithsonian.

Return of Artifacts
OIG agents assisted the Department of Homeland Security with the return of historical artifacts allegedly taken illegally from the battlefield by an American soldier during the Korean War. The artifacts are being returned to the Republic of Korea in cooperation with the Korean Cultural Heritage Administration. The artifacts were never in the possession of the Smithsonian or part of its collections.

Other OIG Activities

Legislative and Regulatory Review

The Inspector General Act mandates that our office monitor and review legislative and regulatory proposals for their impact on the Smithsonian's programs and operations and with an eye toward promoting economy, effectiveness, efficiency, and preventing fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement.

Recovery Act Oversight

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) of 2009 provided the Smithsonian Institution $25 million for Facilities Capital Improvements for the repair and revitalization of existing facilities. The Office of the Inspector General was responsible for oversight over the use of these funds.

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