MONTGOMERY & PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States Attorneys Sandra J. Stewart and Jennifer Arbittier Williams have jointly announced that Southeast Alabama Community Action Partnership, Inc. (“SEACAP”) has agreed to pay $ 30,000 and implement enhanced compliance measures to resolve complaints arising from the administration of SEACAP. community service grants funded by AmeriCorps (formerly the Corporation for National and Community Service).
For years, SEACAP has administered several grants under the AmeriCorps Senior Corps program. These grants included the Foster Grandparent Program, which places seniors in school and community settings to serve youth with exceptional needs. Like other federal grant recipients, SEACAP is subject to various administrative requirements, including an annual audit by an external accountant.
The settlement resolves allegations that SEACAP improperly retained federal funds, even after being informed by its external accountant that it had to return those funds to the United States. After SEACAP received a request for a civil investigation regarding information relating to the administration of its subsidies, it actively cooperated with the United States’ investigation, including producing detailed financial and administrative documents. The United States entered into a capacity to pay agreement with SEACAP to repay what it could without using federal funds and to significantly strengthen its compliance efforts.
“Every day, the Southeast Alabama Community Action Partnership supports impoverished Alabama residents, helping families find food, obtain school supplies and cover unforeseen utility costs. and others. The federal government relies on its nonprofit partners to ensure that federal grant funds are used to help their communities, ”Acting US Attorney Stewart said. “Today’s regulation is a reminder that everyone who receives federal grants must meet the conditions for grant compliance and return the funds to the government to help others when those conditions require.”
“Every federal recipient, including community service organizations, is accountable to federal funds honestly and openly. This obligation is at the heart of the relationship between the United States and federal beneficiaries, ”Acting United States Attorney Williams said. “Federal recipients are obligated to return funds to the United States if they determine that they were not spent properly or in full. Strict adherence to grant requirements ensures that federal funds get to those who need it most. ”
“SEACAP learned from its accountants that the organization owed the CNCS (now known as AmeriCorps) money, but neither returned the money nor informed the CNCS of the debt. Wrongly holding these funds prevented another organization from using them to meet the needs of their community, ”said Deborah J, Jeffrey, Inspector General of AmeriCorps. “We intend that SEACAP’s new integrity measures will strengthen the organization and ensure that this never happens again, and we appreciate the work of our partners in the United States Attorney’s offices in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the United States. Central District of Alabama for holding SEACAP accountable and ensuring the integrity of this AmeriCorps program.
Acting U.S. attorneys Stewart and Williams also praised SEACAP’s agreement to improve its compliance program: We hope the compliance measures it has taken will be a model for other grantees looking to meet their obligations. responsibilities to the United States. “
This investigation was conducted jointly by the United States attorney’s offices for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Central District of Alabama with the Office of the Inspector General of AmeriCorps. Assistant United States Attorneys Paul W. Kaufman and Bryan C. Hughes of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Stephen Wadsworth of the Central District of Alabama led the investigation and settlement. This case was initiated under the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which focuses on grant fraud.
Claims resolved by settlement are only allegations; there was no determination of responsibility.
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