PHILADELPHIA (Legal Newsline)—The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced that Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Corporation (Big Brothers) will pay the United States $1.6 million to resolve allegations of false claims for funds.
Big Brothers, a not-for-profit organization providing mentoring services to boys and girls throughout the country, was originally based in Philadelphia but now is headquartered in Tampa, Florida.
The DOJ provides grants to these types of organizations to help children at risk. Since 2004, Big Brothers has received millions from the DOJ. As part of the conditions of the grant, the organization needed to maintain sound accounting and financial management systems to ensure the grant funds were used properly.
The United States alleges that Big Brothers violated the regulations from 2009 to 2011 when it commingled the grant funds with general operating funds. It failed to segregate expenditures to ensure that the funds were use as intended, according to the DOJ.
“Organizations such as Big Brothers do great work, but in carrying out their mission they also have an obligation to the populations they serve and to the taxpayer to ensure that government grant funds are used responsibly according to the rules,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the DOJ's Civil Division, said. “The settlement announced today exemplifies the department’s commitment to hold those who mishandle such funds accountable.”