LAWRENCE — The federal government will begin a financial audit of the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council as early as this week.

Michael Morris, attorney for the GLCAC, said officials with the region's leading anti-poverty agency have already had initial discussions about the investigation with the Office of Inspector General with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Morris said the federal auditors will begin going through GLCAC books either this week or next week.

"They're going to go through all 34 of the agency's programs," said Morris. "They may be there for some time."

According to the Inspector General's website, the mission of the office is to "protect the integrity of Department of Health and Human Services programs, as well as the health and welfare of the beneficiaries of those programs."

"I know they're checking for any financial impropriety," said Morris. "Their obligation is to ensure the public's dollar has been honestly spent.

"They'll receive the utmost cooperation from the (GLCAC) staff."

Morris said financial reviews of GLCAC books by agency and state auditors have "gone very well" in the past.

GLCAC serves about 25,000 low-income people annually in Lawrence, Methuen, Andover and North Andover. Besides child care and heat assistance, its services include consumer advocacy, immigration aid, homelessness prevention and even a baseball league.

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