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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[…] 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
10 days ago

Glad I learned about this.
News!

anon
anon
13 days 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
15 days 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
15 days 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
13 days 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
15 days 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
12 days 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
15 days 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
15 days 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.

carleton cronin
15 days ago

Had a phone call re my previous comment:Did I know anything, have an idea…? My response was that my last interface with the LAASD was when two deputies shooed me away because they did not feel that the info I had was important to them. They waited any least an hour for the same info to come from another source. Arrogance is not furthering good police work. The other concern I have is with the sheriff himself. He replaced a reformer who was sorely needed and has done nothing except to shield deputies from public scrutiny. He works for the… Read more »

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
15 days ago

The City of West Hollywood looks to the County Board of Supervisors for action??? Why do we have people in multiple six-figure jobs to manage these contracts if all they do is defer to the supes? Those who suggest a parallel to the City of Bell are totally on target. It’s time for West Hollywood to grow up.

DesertBob
DesertBob
15 days ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

It’s time to scrap the city and let the supes run it. It’s a failed experiment.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
13 days ago
Reply to  DesertBob

Obviously you were not around before we had a City.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
13 days ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Compton blew the whistle and someone came forward in regard to West Hollywood; but how much do you want to bet that this is happening in Santa Clarita, Malibu and the other cities where the Sheriff is patrolling.
The sort of forensic accounting that would be needed to get to the bottom of this is tremendous and this should be an issue lead by the Association of Contract Cities, who I believe is being lead by someone we know.

Joshua88
Joshua88
10 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Indeed!

Todd
Todd
16 days ago

It wouldn’t shock me at all if the City is being defrauded by the LASD all the time. As another commenter mentioned, the response for a seemingly routine service call elicits a massive response, all of which adds to the bill for the City. I doubt there will be much call-out from the Council Members as they are generally effusive with admiration and high praise for the great job the Sheriffs do for the City. Transparency is rare. When the “crime blotter” was published regularly, the list seemed out-of-sync with the huge responses you’d see to some service call. I’d… Read more »

WeHoMikey
WeHoMikey
15 days ago
Reply to  Todd

The City pays a flat rate to LA County for its Sheriff’s contract. Any overtime is specifically for special events or for BLM marches.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
13 days ago
Reply to  WeHoMikey

We have a flat rate for patrol services which does include time.
Otherwise none of this would be an issue.

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