U.S. Mint Atlanta Olympic Commemorative Coin Program

Gao ID: AIMD-98-49R April 30, 1998

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed an anonymous allegation regarding the U.S. Mint's Atlanta Olympic Commemorative Coin Program.

GAO noted that: (1) the Olympic Program was one of the largest and most complex commemorative coin programs ever managed by the Mint; (2) according to the Mint, it produced 4.1 million Olympic Program coins and sold 2.4 million coins through December 31, 1997, when the Olympic Program ended; (3) on February 17, 1998, the Mint issued a quarterly report for the period ended December 31, 1997; (4) that report included an unaudited estimated financial loss on the Olympic Program of $5.2 million; (5) Mint officials stated that they took up to 60 days after the end of each quarter to complete all of the accounting system entries, in part because three of the five Mint accounting systems were operated on a manual basis; (6) Mint officials advised GAO that its management estimates have been problematic; (7) some of these problems, according to the officials, were related in part to system problems in the Mint's financial management system; (8) over the past several years, the Mint has reported under the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act that its accounting system cannot provide management with useful, timely financial information; (9) as a result, according to the Department of the Treasury's independent auditor, management may be precluded from effectively measuring operating goals and monitoring progress in achieving them; (10) the Mint has developed a new integrated management information system that, according to Mint officials, is intended to resolve its accounting problems; (11) an anonymous letter dated March 23, 1997, and addressed to the Treasurer of the United States, alleged that the Olympic Program has lost approximately $25 million; (12) that was approximately $22 million more than was reported in the Mint's most recent quarterly report at that time; (13) the additional $22 million in alleged losses was based primarily on unsold coins and excess packaging; (14) GAO could not substantiate the allegation; (15) the allegation included losses based on the full cost of unsold coins at the time of the allegation; (16) unsold coins, however, can be melted down and, accordingly, most of the metal cost can be recovered; (17) the allegation included losses based on the entire amount of excess packaging; and (18) the allegation, however, did not recognize that all but approximately $1 million of the packaging was generic and could be used for other programs.

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