From the Office of the District Attorney:
Former Con Fire Battalion Chief Charged with 12 Felonies for Falsifying Payroll Records, Misappropriation of Taxpayer Monies
Martinez, Calif. – Earlier this week the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office filed criminal charges against former Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (Con Fire) Battalion Chief Louis Manzo Jr. of Danville. Con Fire worked closely with our Office on the investigation and the filing of 12 felonies against Manzo. Con Fire reported the initial allegations to our Office earlier this year.
“Public employees must always be held to a higher standard as stewards of taxpayer dollars. Further, employees in positions of trust and management must conduct themselves in an honorable manner. Manzo took advantage of his knowledge of Con Fire’s internal system to fraudulently mispresent his hours and time off requests, in two separate fraud schemes,” said Deputy District Attorney Dodie Katague. DDA Katague is with our Office’s Consumer Protection Unit within the Special Operations Division.
During the course of one scheme, Manzo would take vacation days but then later change his timecard record to claim special pay for an extra assignment outside of his normal course of duties. When Manzo took a vacation day, Con Fire needed to cover that shift for public safety purposes. Manzo would also list events for his special assignment that he did not attend or did not happen on the days he said they did. He then would go back and not claim vacation time to ensure his bank of vacation hours remained unaffected in relation to his pension.
The second scheme Manzo employed was to claim overtime pay for out-of-office work events he said he attended. A review was conducted of his GPS logs on his assigned work vehicle. The investigation determined that Manzo did not attend these events or was never near the event location.
In total, the loss to Con Fire is $46,000 in direct salary payments and $19,000 in costs incurred to cover shifts while Manzo was out of the office or claiming to be on special assignment.
Manzo faces up to nine years in state prison. Defendant is also subject to Government Code 7522.72 regarding the forfeiture of his pension and his pension will have to be recalculated without the fraudulent vacation days.