California state workers charged with fraud

State auditors conducting nine investigations have alleged that state workers were overpaid and committed bribery, mail fraud and other financial crimes. At least nine of these investigations have resulted in convictions for the state workers involved.

In one case, employees of the Franchise Tax Board and the Office of the Secretary of State collaborated with a courier service owner in issuing “official” letters to business owners stating that in order to find out if they were in good standing with the state, they had to pay a $20 processing fee. One employee issued letters of good standing to businesses through the courier, who paid $300 to $400 a week for these services. The two employees involved in the scheme, as well as the courier, were convicted on bribery charges and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $227,000 to the state.

Another case under investigation involved an accounting technician working for the state Employment Development Department who, along with two others, was convicted of mail fraud involving $93,000 in unemployment benefits. Other cases included employees who were reimbursed incorrectly for travel and overtime expenses and improper use of state time to post Internet comments.

Employees accused of crimes while on the job may have a difficult time showing that they were not involved in a conspiracy, especially when supervisors or others are guilty. A criminal defense attorney can represent these employees and help them mount a defense to these charges that protects their rights and prevents them from being dragged down with others who may be engaging in illegal activity on the job.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “California state workers committed bribery, mail fraud, auditor says,” Dec. 11, 2012

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