VAWA: “Disturbing Instances Of Fraud And Embezzlement” Cited

By the WAVE Editor

April 25, 2012

A must-read item on the Heritage Foundation blog addresses a topic that is all too often ignored in discussions about the Violence Against Women Act: fraud. Let’s hope this troubling issue gets a thorough airing as the Senate considers S. 1925, the bill to reauthorize VAWA, this week.

The Heritage post explains that, while increasing direct spending by $100 million, S. 1925 “fails to rectify VAWA’s inadequate accountability measures.”

Citing a recent investigation by the Department of Justice, the item notes that “disturbing instances of fraud and embezzlement of some Office on Violence Against Women grants have marred the original law’s intentions.” Here are a few examples from the post:

  • On March 27, a mother and daughter were sentenced after a DOJ investigation revealed that the pair had embezzled almost $160,000 in federal grant funds. The two women had worked at an American Samoa nonprofit that received more than $1.2 million in federal grant funds from the Office of Violence Against Women and Legal Services Corporation over a two-year period to offer legal aid to victims of domestic violence and other abuse.
  • A March 2012 report following a DOJ investigation of the Virgin Islands Law Enforcement Planning Commission found that nearly $1 million in federal funds provided by the Office on Violence Against Women were questionably used.
  • A separate March 2012 DOJ audit of the Couer d’Alene Native American tribe reported “internal control weakness” and “unallowable grant expenditures,” including more than $171,000 in compensation for an unauthorized employee.

The item further notes:

 Unfortunately, the bill before the Senate does not address VAWA’s lack of accountability. Instead, it expands the scope of the law and already existing programs, handing more power over violence reduction efforts to the federal government.

Source: WAVE