Charging videogames and consoles to government credit cards has helped to take down a Baltimore Mayor and may also lead to arrests in a probe of Nova Scotia House of Assembly members. Now, the lure of putting the burden of payment on the public has proven too hard to resist for yet another piece of bureaucracy, the Los Angeles Probation Department.
A Los Angeles Times article states that “mayhem has reigned for years” in the LA County Probation Department, and claims 170 cases of employee misconduct over an unspecified time frame. The author turns us on to “a story you haven’t heard yet”:
I’m told the next bombshell will be the revelation that some employees appear to have been ripping off taxpayers by using county-issued credit cards for personal items, including LCD televisions, DVD players, Sony PlayStations and video games, and barbecue grills. Now maybe some of that loot will turn out to have been authorized, but I can tell you they’re having trouble finding the stuff at county offices.
Purchasers even went so far as to split transactions, in the hope that the separate dealings would raise less suspicion. LA County Chief Executive William Fujioka wasn’t too pleased, stating, “I will tell you that when I looked at it, I was outraged.”
The worst part of the whole scenario? Those who took advantage of the system could go unpunished:
Because the employees have a state-mandated statute of limitations, so if a case isn’t wrapped up in two years, they’re home free. And the investigations unit is so overmatched and ill-equipped, it doesn’t always get the job done in time.