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80 County Employee Personal Shopping Trips You Paid For

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Photo by TheTruthAbout... via Flickr

Photo by TheTruthAbout... via Flickr
Little plastic cards in your wallet actually don't mean you can buy stuff and never pay for it, especially if it's your employer who gave you the card in the first place. It seems several Los Angeles County workers, however, took taxpayers for a ride by purchasing all sorts of goods for personal use with county-issued credit cards, according to the LA Times.

Columnist Steve Lopez reveals that this shopping-spree scandal is going to be "the next bombshell" the County has to contend with, thanks to the discovery of charges at places like Best Buy, Sears and Home Depot for items such as "LCD televisions, DVD players, Sony PlayStations and video games, and barbecue grills."

80 "suspicious uses" of county-issued credit cards showed up in a preliminary report, indicating the employees used what's known as a "split-purchase" method, "in which the shopper made separate buys, perhaps to avoid calling attention to any single large haul."

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The purchases are being investigated with the help of the D.A., but it's possible that the employees who violated policy could actually go undisciplined.

Lopez explains:

Because the employees have a state-mandated statute of limitations, so if a case isn't wrapped up in two years, they're home free. And the investigations unit is so overmatched and ill-equipped, it doesn't always get the job done in time.

Part of the investigation is to try to locate those television sets, barbecues, and video game consoles, to see if they were, in fact, purchased for County use. Maybe they should ask the City of Los Angeles for tips on finding missing goods bought with official bucks.