U.S. Investigates Alleged Fraud in Service-Work Program at Ariz. College

Federal investigators served a search warrant at the offices of Paradise Valley Community College, a campus of Arizona’s Maricopa County Community College District, as part of an investigation into alleged fraud involving more than $4-million in federal funds. The inquiry involves an AmeriCorps program, known as Project Ayuda, that pays students for doing community service. Investigators are examining whether the college paid students for work they didn’t perform or mishandled the money in other ways. A spokesman for the district said the college’s director of service learning had recently resigned. The college’s president placed that employee on leave after he saw her tampering with subpoenaed files, according to court documents.

“When the inspector general initiated an investigation of the programs director, the college and the district cooperated fully,” district spokesman Tom Gariepy said in a statement. “After an internal investigation, disciplinary action was initiated, and Ms. Vaughn has resigned. We cannot comment on the possibility that some employees may face criminal charges.”

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