LAS VEGAS — Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada has agreed to pay more than $206,000 to settle a federal fraud investigation that focused on community service grants for Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion programs in 2014 and 2015, authorities said Wednesday.
Administrators of the charity voluntarily reported that Corporation for National and Community Service grants had been improperly used to pay stipends for hours never worked, violated program requirements or were inflated, U.S. attorneys Nicholas Trutanich in Nevada and William McSwain in Pennsylvania said.
The settlement was reached before criminal charges were filed. The organization did not admit wrongdoing and there was no determination of liability, the prosecutors said in a statement.
The organization fired the employees who “perpetrated the fraud,” the prosecutors said, and it cooperated in an investigation of grant disbursements. It was denied the grants in 2018.
Officials did not identify the people involved, say how many there were, where they lived or if they were prosecuted.
“Our organization took swift action to investigate the irregularities and to self-report through the proper channels,” Deacon Tom Roberts, chief executive of Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, said in a statement.
The organization now has “additional safeguards to protect against the possibility of similar future happenings,” Roberts said, and the settlement was covered by insurance, not by donations or grants.
“The settlement will not have any impact on the services Catholic Charities provides,” the statement said.
Trutanich credited Catholic Charities with feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless and supporting families and seniors in need of assistance in Las Vegas. He called the agreement “a reminder that everyone receiving federal grant funds must adhere to grant compliance requirements and self-report misuse.”
The investigation involved the Affirmative Civil Enforcement Strike Force at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Catholic Charities administered multiple grants in the Senior Corps program from 2003 to 2018, Trutanich and McSwain said.
They said that when executives learned employees had falsified records for hourly stipends paid to volunteers and directed recipients to falsify records, the organization voluntarily disclosed findings to a Corporation for National and Community Service hotline.