San Francisco avoids False Claims Act suit by returning federal law enforcement grant money

December 2, 2008  |  Press Releases

The City of San Francisco has consented to return federal law enforcement grant money in order to escape being named in a False Claims Act suit by the U.S. Department of Justice. The federal government had accused the city of misusing $5.2 million in federal law enforcement grants aimed at securing national borders from illegal immigration and narcotics trafficking. The city accepted the funds from 2004 to 2007, despite its sanctuary policy to provide refuge to undocumented aliens. San Francisco prosecutors used the money on thirty percent of all drug-related cases, with the justification that often drug trafficking is a border-related crime. The city’s sheriff, Michael Hennessey, said that the sheriff’s department used half the money for jails under the mistaken belief that the funding was legitimate. Matt Dorsey, city attorney spokesman, explained that it was better for the city to return the money than to suffer prosecution and the imposition of tripled fines for violating the federal False Claims Act.

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