A City of San Diego employee is under fire for allegedly stealing $240,000 in vehicle batteries and other automotive supplies, according to a report issued by the city auditor.
Jason G. Williams, 44, was charged with six felony counts for grand theft and one felony count for receiving a bribe related to his responsibility in the public utilities department, a court complaint shows.
The auditor’s investigation began after a tip came through the city’s fraud hotline. Investigators found an employee had ordered 1,844 car batteries and other auto parts that the city never received.
The parts and batteries were not even the kind used in city vehicles, according to City Auditor Eduardo Luna.
It’s still unclear what exactly happened to the batteries, paid for by San Diego taxpayers.
“I have no information on what happened,” said Luna. “Once we conclude our investigation, we refer it to the city’s police department for their investigation.”
An audit released this week also says that Williams also demanded and received cash goods from a vendor doing business with the city.
The complaint alleges that the criminal activity happened between 2008 and 2012.
“What you want is employees when they see wrong-doing, they are able to report it to the city’s fraud line,” said Luna.
Approved city purchases come through the purchasing department’s central stores.
However, the city’s audit states further controls are needed because there is no normal procedure to make sure items coming in match up with the bills being paid. There also needs to be steps to make sure a single employee can’t place an order, receive it and pay the vendor.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer said those further controls will be put into place.
“And if someone is doing the wrong thing, that it’s discovered, and discovered immediately,” said Faulconer. “I have zero tolerance for people doing the wrong thing when it comes to our city’s tax dollars.”
Williams, who no longer works for the city, faces five years and eight months in prison if he is convicted on all counts.