SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) — The Department of Justice has announced Douglas daCosta of Livermore, California, will pay $40,000 after allegations he submitted false claims to the government for paid sick live during his time with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
“When a law enforcement officer misuses taxpayer funds, he does a disservice to his colleagues who serve with professionalism and distinction,” said principal deputy assistant attorney general Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “This settlement shows that we will not hesitate to hold individuals accountable if they misuse taxpayer funds.”
According to the department, deCosta was working as a criminal investigator for the ATF’s San Francisco field division in 2009 when he submitted false requests. The defendant allegedly claimed more than 80 days of paid sick leave for which he was not actually eligible. The department charges that daCosta faked a bout with cancer, going so far as to provide a forged letter to his supervisors from a physician.
“Federal agents must be held to answer when they breach the public’s trust,” said special agent in charge Elise Chawaga of the Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General's Fraud Detection Office. “The Office of the Inspector General remains vigilant in its effort to uncover government waste, fraud and abuse and to recover all ill-gotten gains.”