Sheriff’s department accused of defrauding West Hollywood

West Hollywood and other cities in Los Angeles County may have been the victim of a fraudulent billing scheme perpetrated by the Sheriff’s Department, according to an explosive new legal claim.

On Wednesday, the City of Compton accused the Sheriff’s Department of falsifying records to make it appear as though deputies were patrolling the streets when in fact they were not.

Like Compton, the City of West Hollywood contracts with the Sheriff’s Department to provide law enforcement services for about $20 million annually.

An anonymous sheriff’s deputy told the Los Angeles Times that, while working at the West Hollywood station, he was ordered to alter records to make it appear as though a deputy was out on patrol when in reality he was home with an injury.

“That’s straight-up fraud,” he said. “It’s so rampant that it became the norm.”

“Taxpayers are footing the bill for law enforcement services,” Compton City Attorney Damon Brown said. “For the Sheriff’s Department to be defrauding them of those dollars and essentially to steal money right out of the city coffers, that can’t go unaddressed.”

The City of West Hollywood issued a statement in response to the allegations.

“The City of West Hollywood is aware of serious allegations from the City of Compton, California, against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva in a Claim for Damages announced today by Compton City leaders.

In its Claim for Damages, the City of Compton alleges that the Los Angeles County Sheriff overbilled its city for Sheriff’s personnel time. A news article today additionally reported a Sheriff’s Deputy’s allegation in a media interview that, while working at the West Hollywood Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, he was asked to fabricate records.

The City of West Hollywood has a regular monthly internal review process for its public safety billing in coordination with its local station’s leadership. This review process ensures checks and balances and serves to monitor how the City is billed for Sheriff’s personnel time.

The City of West Hollywood looks to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and to Supervisor Sheila Kuehl for a full and transparent process regarding billing discrepancies and misappropriations alleged in the Claim for Damages.

The City Council of the City of West Hollywood will, at its next regular meeting on June 7, 2021, consider adopting a Resolution calling on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Inspector General to work with the California Contract Cities Association to audit the billing with Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for all contract cities. The City of West Hollywood refers all press inquiries to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Headquarters at (323) 526-5541.”

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[…] During Commission meetings over the past three months, Soon-Shiong has questioned the need for more police presence in WeHo, advocating instead for the social services approach supported by Horvath and others on the council. She has also taken aim at Sheriff Alex Villanueva, criticising his refusal to enforce the county’s vaccine mandate and aiding the inquiry into the department’s billing scandal. […]

Anonymous
Anonymous
4 months ago

The padding of patrol hours has been going on for years. Over the years I was assigned to the station, the in-service roster did not reflect the actual number of deputies (sometimes just one deputy Sunday mornings) assigned to patrol the city. Deputies assigned to other duties were sometimes asked to do a patrol log for which they supposedly worked, but did not.

REM
REM
7 months ago

Instead of working for the tax payers, they’re out cruising the streets arresting intoxicated and people facing homelessness. There is usually 10 Officers, arresting 1 person. I totally believe their crooks. For the last 2 months, a hacker has been managing my life. The sheriffs department refuses to help me. I just want is a F**cking report. I called 911 last week, to report that buddy that was taking pictures of me in the restroom. I waited for over 2 hours, the as*holes never arrived. If you call 911 after the night life shuts down, the call goes to the… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by REM
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[…] items on the agenda, including a possible audit of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department over allegedly fraudulent billing and the loosening of live entertainment restrictions on Robertson […]

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[…] In the wake of an explosive report alleging widespread fraud by the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, West Hollywood City Council will deliberate whether to audit the department’s records to find out whether they billed the city for hours they were not on patrol.  […]

Joshua88
Joshua88
7 months ago

Glad I learned about this.
News!

anon
anon
7 months ago

Compton also has deputy gangs which kill POC for membership in racist police gangs. We need to put location trackers on every policeman while on the clock, track their movements, location, people they’re with, etc. They dont need a helicopter and are draining the city of $$$

Mike
Mike
7 months ago

The fire department needs to be investigated because I see them bring all the fire trucks and equipment from the station that aren’t needed… I see them arrive and ten minutes later there gone without having to use some of the Trucks and equipment… that’s tax payer money spent on them to show up without them doing anything…

Observer
Observer
7 months ago

When the sheriff’s department was charged with citing people not wearing masks, I never saw it happen and in one instance a patrol car stopped at a light across the street could clearly see two people who were maskless. What did they do? The drove right past them. We desperately need more year round foot patrols because an Ambassador is not a substitute for a sheriff.

William Seegmiller
William Seegmiller
7 months ago
Reply to  Observer

We must have different perceptiveness because I witnessed multiple citations for mask non Compliance, especially targeting homeless people. Black friends told me they felt racially profiled for mask non Compliance by Weho sheriff. Hell, even Sepi (the originator of the no-mask no-warning $300 “Shyne Fine”) admitted that the mask policy enforcement had unintended consequences of discrimination. If we are paying for their public service, mask enforcement should never have been a priority, except to placate overly-fearful residents. The WeHo Sheriff ought to realize that we are NOT letting this billing fraud slip under the rug and we will be demanding… Read more »

Gary LeGault
Gary LeGault
7 months ago

This does not surprise me in the least. The corruption in West Hollywood has reached epidemic levels. Our elected and contracted officials do not always act in the best interest of the people who are paying their salaries. A sheriff’s badge should not be given as a license to steal, nor should it excuse gross negligence and incompetence.

Jonathan Simmons
Jonathan Simmons
7 months ago
Reply to  Gary LeGault

Been on same page for 25+ years. BUT WITH DEPARTURE OF HEILMAN, the key holder allowing hundreds of Millions of dollars come in, yet the City Revenue was never enough to cover normal City Services $30 plus million for that robo garage behind city hall?? I THINK THERE SHOULD BE A FORENSIC AUDIT NOW THAT THE OLD CORRUPT GUARD IS GONE, AND BEFORE THE NEW CITY MANAGER GET STUCK, NOT KNOWING WHAT HAS BEEN GOING ON, AND START WITH A CLEAN AND HONEST BALANCE SHEET. IF THEFT, FRAUD OR ANY CRIMINAL FLEASING OF SO MUCH MONEY MUST BE BROUGHT FOR… Read more »

JESS
JESS
7 months ago

Is there no one at WeHo CIty Hall that is auditing and ab system of checks and balances on billings????? Or does someone just ‘write a check’ and pay without any auditing????

DesertBob
DesertBob
7 months ago

“Fraud? At LASD?? (clutching pearls) Please say it isn’t so!!”

Hey…that line worked for ol’ Leroy Baca, didn’t it? With Villanueva helming that outfit, I can assume that criminality at LASD has reached heights of which Lee never could have never fathomed. We haven’t had a decent sheriff since Sherman Block.

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