UC cops mum on fraud scandal

May 21, 2010 - By admin

MAY 21, 2010

K. LLOYD BILLINGSLEY

In late 2009, UC Davis officials launched an investigation into misappropriation of funds on campus. More than four months later, officials remain quiet about the results.

Annette Spicuzza, chief of police at UC Davis, told CalWatchdog in an email that “this particular investigation is still ongoing and all things are being reviewed.”

The investigation involves former UC Davis employee Jennifer Beeman, who for 16 years directed the UC Davis Campus Violence Prevention Program (CVPP). The CVPP is “an arm of the UC Davis Police Department,” according to an official statement.

In mandatory reports, Beeman “significantly over-reported the number of forcible sex offenses that were committed on and around campus in 2005, 2006 and 2007,” the university said in a press release.

The true figures were “less than half” those Beeman reported, according to the university’s statement. From 1999 to 2005, the CVPP received four federal grants totaling $3,168,923, according to a UC Davis audit.

In 2008, UC Davis placed Beeman on administrative leave, with pay, “in connection with allegations that she improperly charged travel expenses to a federal grant.” The university later “changed Beeman’s leave from administrative leave to medical leave.”

UC Davis does not bring disciplinary action against employees on medical leave. Beeman subsequently retired but new allegations continued to surface.

According to the university’s Oct. 1, 2009 press statement, UC Davis Internal Audit Services “substantiated several charges against Beeman,” involving travel and hotel expenses. Beeman reimbursed UC Davis $1,372, “but those substantiated findings led UC Davis to launch a second investigation” on a more serious matter.

UC Davis police sergeant Paul Henoch was assigned to investigate “an embezzlement case,” (UCDPD Case Number C09-1074). In a Dec. 1, 2009 statement of probable cause, Sgt. Henoch wrote that Beeman had told a fellow co-worker about paying her home mortgage out of a checking account for a campus program called “Take Back the Night.”

Jennifer Beeman was the sole signatory for the account, and she approved payments for a campus anti-violence guide to a third-part vendor, “Southpaw,” owned by Granate Sosnoff of Oakland. Sgt. Henock discovered that from May 11, 2000 through April 9, 2007 Granate Sosnoff was the recipient of 45 payments totaling $540,336.31. The probable cause report also noted that Granate Sosnoff used “a variety of business names such as Feminist Media, Slingshot Production, Southpaw, and Feminist Media Slingshot Production.”

Sgt. Henoch wrote that “suspects in financial crimes may place stolen monies in their bank accounts or investments accounts and/or in financial accounts of others in order to conceal it from law enforcement and evade arrest.”

He requested “all account information” from 2000 to May 1, 2007.” He believes “that the financial records during this time period will provide insight into Jennifer Beeman’s financial background and relationship to the third-party vendor known as ‘Granate Sosnoff.’”

In a Jan. 1, 2010 Sacramento Bee story by Hudson Sangree, UC Davis police chief Annette Spicuzza said that, to her knowledge, the banks had not returned the requested records, and that no decision to charge Beeman or Sosnoff would be made until the bank records came to light.

Chief Spicuzza told the Bee that “This is an open investigation. We’re going to look at everything.”

More than four months later, on May 17, 2020, Spicuzza told CalWatchdog in a email that “this particular investigation is still ongoing and all things are being reviewed.  I’m sorry I can’t get into any more detail than that.”

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