Broward County Commission Restores AIDS Project Florida’s Funding After Embezzlement Scandal
The Broward County Commission on Tuesday restored to AIDS Project Florida $1.5 million in federal funding, which was suspended earlier this month because of a recent embezzlement scandal, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports (Olmeda, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 4/27). The Broward County Human Services Department suspended the $1.5 million -- which accounts for more than 25% of the group's budget -- after former APFL CFO William Diamond admitted to embezzling money from the group during his tenure (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/18). The commission said it is "convinced for now" that the embezzlement scandal was an "isolated incident," according to the Sun-Sentinel. County officials said that APFL "generally operated properly" and has not overbilled the county for reimbursements, despite the fraudulent petty cash payments Diamond made to himself, according to the Sun-Sentinel. Commissioners restored the group's funding on a month-to-month basis and will suspend it again if any further "irregularities" are discovered, the Sun-Sentinel reports. County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman and other officials said the money was restored to ensure that services for HIV-positive people in the state are not interrupted (South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 4/27).
Current APFL Executive Director Will Spencer gave county officials an internal audit showing $59,000 in fraudulent disbursements signed by Diamond. Broward County Human Services Director Marlene Wilson said the Health Resources and Services Administration -- the federal agency that distributes Ryan White CARE Act funds to counties -- has been notified about the audit. William Green, the county's human services section manager, said that Broward County auditors will review the internal audit and might recommend further action to the county commission. APFL on Friday submitted a final internal audit of the group's funds during Diamond's tenure from February 2003 to March 2005. The audit blamed the embezzlement scandal on the organization's loosened fiscal policies that began in early 2003 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/26).