By Adam Andrzejewski for RealClearPolicy
“Do we know what this is?”
That’s what Marisa Ramos, acting chief of the California Office of AIDS, replied when staff pointed to about $1 million of billings from a company no one had heard of.
It turns out the company, Web Tech Solutions, was invented by staffer Schenelle Flores to help bilk the office of $2.7 million of taxpayer funds to pay for her trips to Disneyland, concerts and sporting events, according to a report by The Sacramento Bee.
The California Department of Public Health recently released new details about the fraud following a lawsuit by The Sacramento Bee seeking the release of records.
Flores oversaw fiscal operations for the HIV Prevention Branch of the California Office of AIDS when she used contractor for the office, MLB Distributors, to bankroll her trips by billing the state for the cost, The Bee reported.
MLB chief financial officer, Leon Pick, gave Flores his debit card number after she asked for the information to streamline payments, which she then used on trips to Disneyland, concerts, and sporting events, the newspaper reported.
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Flores worked with Christine Iwamoto, a former manager inside the California Department of Public Health, to create a second phony company to bill the office for $450,000 for public relations work that was never performed, The Sacramento Bee reported.
In February, Flores pleaded guilty to defrauding the state and, in late October, Iwamoto, a former manager inside the California Department of Public Health, also pleaded guilty.
Iwamoto received $450,000 and 312 $100 gift cards from the scheme, prosecutors said.
A state agency being defrauded of $2.7 million in taxpayer funds should be enough to motivate the State of California to reform its billing and payment policies so corrupt bureaucrats have less power.
Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.
The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com.
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