Report Describes Fraud in County AmeriCorps Program

(KCPW News) Salt Lake County Auditor Greg Hawkins released an audit today detailing several types of fraud in the county’s AmeriCorps program, following a year-long investigation jointly conducted with the district attorney’s office and the FBI. It focuses primarily on the actions of Richard Parks, the county’s AmeriCorps program director.

“There was fraud and misuse of public funds, some of those funds came from federal grants; it was by Parks,” he says. “It’s kind of a convoluted, involved scenario.”

Alleged fraud committed by Parks includes falsifying timesheets of AmeriCorps members who worked at a house in St. George that used to care for “lost boys,” or young men who have been kicked out by polygamist communities.

Jim Braden, spokesman for the mayor’s office, says the county has fully cooperated with the U.S. Attorney and the auditor:

“…pursuing investigations that resulted from information generated from the mayor’s office. We just received the auditor’s report. We’ll review the findings and recommendations. Our next steps will be determined based on the auditor’s findings,” says Braden.

It’s also alleged Parks had an affair with an AmeriCorps volunteer and misused grant funds to continue their sexual relationship. He’s been charged with mail fraud, wire fraud, state and local program fraud, and making fraudulent statements or representations.