Saturday, November 20, 2010
It's The "Big Weasel" Tradition: "Anti Gang" Program Steals From Taxpayers
Section 487 of the California Penal Code states that grand theft -- a felony -- occurs when someone takes money, labor, real or personal property worth over $400. Section 424 provides for prison sentences between two and four years for people who make false accounts involving "public moneys."
So why is the "ex" gang member who got caught stealing $550 by submitting phony time cards to the "anti gang" program funded with our tax dollars merely getting fired? Why is he not also getting prosecuted?
Will Villaraigosa do anything at all about this? Of course not. On the contrary, he actually has the gall to claim -- through a spokesman -- that this is a "private affair." Why? Well, you see, your tax dollars were handed to a gang program, which then "hired" another "non-profit," to which this guy submitted the phony time-cards. So, see, it's really just a private matter between the gang program and the "non-profit." Huh? It's OUR money. It's OUR problem, a public problem.
The "private affair" spin is idiocy, especially since, when these "anti-gang" programs get their grants, they specify how they are going to spend your money, including whether they're going to hand it to another "non-profit." Every year, tens of millions of your tax dollars are spread around loosey goosey to Villaraigosa's cronies through these "anti-gang" programs, which, in turn, spread money to other organizations.
But I digress. This is all very simple: It's our money. It was stolen. It's a crime. The City Attorney and District Attorney both need to jump on this to protect the public from theft. How about it? Trutanich? Cooley? Are you going to step forward and fight for taxpayers, or sit back and align yourself with Villaraigosa?
If an investigation reveals the man is innocent, so be it, by all means, clear his name. But there needs to be an investigation. We can't just give people a "pass" on phony time cards or, in the case of the DWP, phony contracts, or in the case of the Housing Department, inflated contracts to employees' cousins. (You remember the thousand-dollar toilets, right?)
The article in the Los Angeles Times points out that the "ex" gang member gave back the money. So what? The penalty for committing a crime is not simply that you have to give back what you stole. There's also the matter of fines and imprisonment.
So let's see if anyone does anything about this, or if instead there is, as usual, no penalty as long as the only victims are you and me, the taxpayers.
Posted by Walter Moore at 8:41 AM