The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power wasted millions of taxpayer dollars due to fraud by city employees using the organization's purchasing card program, according to a report released by City Controller Wendy Greuel.
Prosecutors said from March 2008 to November 2009, nearly $242,000 worth of furniture was purchased by city workers who then marked the items up and charged the DWP $399,000, according to the Los Angeles Times. The workers then pocketed the difference.
"They we're using it for furniture and other things and using a company that someone else owned. It was really a mess," Greuel said.
Because the cards did not allow a single expenditure to exceed $2,000, the defendants were forced to use nearly a dozen "P-cards" to split the purchase orders into smaller pieces, the Times reported.
Greuel blamed the fraud partly on a lack of proper oversight and said as a result of the investigation, the DWP substantially lowered its use of P-Cards, saving millions of dollars.
"We found even in 2010, the amount of how much they were using those for went from $24 million to $18 million-- that showed that they didn't need to use them as much as they had before," Greuel said.
Watch the Full Interview: Greuel discusses other examples of fraud in city government