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Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) has agreed to pay $4.08 million to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act that it submitted false claims to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) concerning AmeriCorps state and national grants, the Justice Department announced today. MCCCD is the entity responsible for operating community colleges in Maricopa County, Arizona, and is based in Phoenix
The information security and privacy program at the Corporation for National and Community Service (Corporation) does not meet minimum standards and needs substantial improvement across the board. Kearney & Company, P.C. (Kearney), under the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) supervision, uncovered weaknesses in 11 of the 12 areas tested. The controls were found to be ineffective in seven of these areas, and in four of them—Continuous Monitoring, Risk Management, Plans of Action & Milestones and Privacy—the defects were severe enough to constitute a significant deficiency, requiring immediate correction and attention by agency leadership.
Mr. Richard Parks misused more than $95,000 in Federal program funds by enrolling ineligible individuals in AmeriCorps, and falsifying member time sheets while serving as the AmeriCorps Program Director at the Salt Lake County Resource and Development Division, Salt Lake, UT. Mr. Parks pled guilty to Wire Fraud and Theft of Federal Funds in Federal District Court, Salt Lake City, UT, and in September 2013, that court sentenced Park to 36 months’ probation and ordered him to make restitution to the government in the amount of $13,907.
Ms. Welithia Fortune embezzled $31,805.39 from an AmeriCorps program run by the Lee County School District of Bishopville, South Carolina, by diverting funds to her own personal checking account while serving there as an Administrative Assistant. Ms. Fortune pled guilty to the theft and was sentenced in February 2013 by the Lee County Circuit Court to six years’ incarceration (suspended), five years’ probation, and ordered to make restitution to the government in the amount of $31,805.39, plus fees and court costs. Ms. Fortune has since been debarred from doing business with the Federal government for a period of three years.
Ms. Chante Sweet, Executive Director of the Miami AmeriCorps Community Emergency Support (ACES) Program in Miami, Florida, conspired with ACES staff members Ms. Ashley Rolle and Ms. Simone West to steal $31,632.90 in federal program funds. Ms. Sweet enrolled Ms. West and Ms. Rolle in the AmeriCorps program, and in return received half of their living allowances.
The case went to trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and Ms. Sweet was found guilty of Theft of Federal Program Funds and sentenced to three years’ probation, 180 days’ home detention with electronic monitoring, and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and make restitution to the government in the amount of $21,932. Ms. Rolle and Ms. West were also found guilty and sentenced to 18 months’ probation, and ordered to perform 80 hours of community service and make restitution to the government in amounts of $4,801 from Ms. Rolle, and $4,899.90 from Ms. West.
In August 2013, Ms. Rolle, Ms. West and Ms. Sweet were all debarred by the Corporation’s Suspension and Debarment Official from doing business with the Federal Government for a period of three years.
Review of the system of internal safeguards and management procedures for the investigative functions of the Office oflnspector General (OIG) for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) in effect during the period May 1, 2011, through May 18, 2012. Our review was conducted in conformity with the Quality Standards for Investigations and the Quality Assessment Review Guidelines for Investigative Operations of Federal Offices of Inspector General established by the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) and the Attorney General's Guidelines for Office oflnspectors General with Statutory Law Enforcement Authority, as applicable.
Former AmeriCorps Commission Chairman Barred from Doing Business with the Federal Government
Washington, DC – Muasau Tofili, former Chairman of the Board of the American Samoa Special Services Commission (Commission), has been debarred from doing business with the Federal government for one year. Mr Tofili, who in September of 2012 became an Associate Judge of the High Court of American Samoa, pocketed more than $2,400 by overcharging the government for hotel expenses. The Commission was funded with taxpayer dollars by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
WASHINGTON, DC -- Atlantic Human Resources, Inc. (AHR), a non-profit organization in Atlantic City, New Jersey, cannot account for $1.4 million in costs charged against two grants from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), according to the agency’s Office of Inspector General. Among the more egregious findings of a recently released audit report, AHR double-billed the government for office services, claimed credits for travel reimbursements and meals that it did not provide to volunteers, failed to ensure that participants were eligible for means-tested benefits, and issued worthless checks to volunteers with incomes near the poverty level. More than 70 percent of the costs charged to the grants were improper or unsupported.
WASHINGTON, DC – Deborah Jeffrey, newly confirmed Inspector General for the Corporation for National and Community Service, this week told an audience of AmeriCorps State and National grantee directors that at a time of looming budget cuts to federal programs, it was critically important they remain aware of their duty to the taxpayers, and to future grantees, to be good stewards of the federal money with which they have been entrusted.
A former Executve Director of the American Samoa Special Services Commission (Commission) was sentenced yesterday to 14 months in prison for her role in stealing over $325,000 in AmeriCorps grant funds, and was ordered to make full resituton of that amount.
Mine S. Pase, 63, of Pago Pago, American Samoa, was sentenced to 14 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, by U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton for the District of Columbia. In November of 2011, Pase pleaded guilty to a one-count criminal informa, on charging her with conspiracy to commit the of federal funds.
On July 19, 2012, Ms. Deborah Jeffrey was sworn in by the Honorable Stephen H. Glickman, Associate Judge District of Columbia Court of Appeals as the new Inspector General for the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Prior to Ms. Jeffrey’s selection as Inspector General, she was a partner at Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, where for more than 20 years she has represented clients in civil and criminal investigations and in complex litigation, and has advised lawyers and law firms on matters of professional ethics and risk management.
Before joining Zuckerman Spaeder as an associate in 1989, Ms. Jeffrey worked as an associate at Hogan & Hartson from 1986 to 1989. She began her legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Harrison L. Winter, former Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Ms. Jeffrey’s impressive career has included designing, conducting, and supervising internal investigations for publicly traded companies, major non-governmental organizations, and law firms. She has also represented government officials in criminal, civil, inspector general, and congressional investigations, among others. She currently serves as Vice Chair of the D.C. Court of Appeals Board on Professional Responsibility, which oversees the disciplinary system for attorneys barred in the District of Columbia, including hearing appeals in cases of attorney discipline.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), Corporation for National and Community Service (Corporation), has issued an audit report (09-15) on Financial Management Survey Responses of New Grantees that cites lapses in the Corporation’s evaluation of new applicants for grant funds.
The audit, a follow-up to a 1998 OIG report, found that problems still exist with the way the Corporation determines whether new grantee applicants have the financial systems and expertise to properly handle Federal funds.
Corporation officials generally agreed with the audit’s findings and have begun taking steps to strengthen their oversight of new grantees.
Specifically, the OIG found that the Financial Management Survey (FMS) form used by the Corporation contains information self-reported by grantees and lacks any method for verification of responses. The Corporation’s review process was also cited as needing improvement.