The case against a former employee of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) who was charged with more than two dozen felony counts for allegedly misappropriating more than $4 million in public funds began with an anonymous tip to the Los Angeles City Controller’s Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline, L.A. City Controller Ron Galperin announced.
The circumstances and investigation that eventually led to Thursday’s arrest of now-retired DWP employee, Audio-Visual Technician Thatcus “T.C.” Richard, started back in 2012 with a call to the Controller’s Hotline — which was then immediately referred to the LADWP Security Services’ Office of Special Investigations, which then launched its inquiry. Richard was arrested and charged with defrauding the DWP and ratepayers, violating conflict of interest laws, and using DWP resources for personal gain, according to the DWP.
“This case shows that the Controller’s Office’s fraud detection and reporting initiatives are working,” said Controller Galperin.
Galperin oversees a Waste, Fraud and Abuse Unit in his office, which maintains a 24-hour phone hotline for the reporting of waste, fraud and abuse. Callers can report concerns about waste, fraud and abuse by phone or by e-mail. Tipsters can remain anonymous — and tips are confidential. Thanks to a special service with which the Controller’s Office contracts, callers can make their reports in more than 150 languages. Posters featuring the hotline’s phone number and web address can be found in most City workplaces — and reports come from City employees, residents and others.
“We take all the tips we receive seriously and all calls are confidential,” said Galperin, who added that his office doesn’t just ask for tips related to waste, fraud and abuse. “We also strongly encourage City employees to share their ideas for how to make the City more efficient and to improve operations.”
According to the District Attorney’s office, T.C. Richard was in charge of managing video and audio jobs for the DWP. Between July 1996 and March 2014, Richard allegedly enlisted friends to establish audio-visual companies and then he helped award DWP contracts to them. In return, these companies would allegedly subcontract the work to a company owned by the defendant called Top Line Communications. Richard is also accused of using DWP equipment and resources for personal gain.
Individuals with knowledge or concern over possible waste, fraud and abuse in the City of Los Angeles — or who may have ideas for efficiencies and improvements — should call 1-866-428-1514 or go to controlpanel.la/report.