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What is the difference between a federal investigation and a federal audit? A federal investigation is tied to determining whether individuals or an entity engaged in criminal or civil actions that affects the federal government and taxpayer dollars. Individuals subject to a federal investigation could go before a court and judge. If found guilty, the individual or individuals could face prison, fines, or both.
A federal audit is tied to determining whether individuals or an entity administered or used federal dollars in compliance with the requirements of the awarding federal agency. If there are issues identified from the report, the individual or entity could face administrative actions such a repayment of money, loss of program funding, or expulsion from future funding from the awarding agency.
The takeaway is that federal investigations are different from a federal audit. An investigation involves looking into the criminal or civil action of individuals or entities involved in a federal program. An audit involves looking into whether an individual or entity used federal money in compliance with a federal agency’s requirements. Once you know the difference, you can better prepare for either an investigation or audit.