County Pursues Charges Against Former Employee
December 16, 2021
Nearly $2 million theft from emergency rental assistance program
San Rafael, CA – A former County of Marin employee was charged December 15 with embezzlement of public funds, entering a computer system with the intent to defraud, and seven counts of grand theft as a suspect in the theft of close to $2 million from Marin’s emergency rental assistance program.
Conviction on the charges would result in a state prison sentence. A majority of the embezzled money was frozen before it could be used and will be returned to the program. The County will seek to recover any remaining missing funds through the restitution process in the criminal courts.
The County became aware of suspicious transactions in June after being notified by an out-of-state bank. The County immediately contacted the staff of District Attorney Lori E. Frugoli and contacts at both the state and federal rental assistance programs. While the investigation remains on-going, District Attorney investigators have discovered that the former employee, Eric Faulks, used his position with the County to approve transactions involving fraudulent landlord applications. The County attributed the recovery to quick action of the County’s investigating team, the banks, and the Community Action Marin, the County’s financial partner for the rental assistance program.
Faulks was an employment development counselor assigned to help manage the program during the COVID-19 pandemic. The safety-net program is funded by State of California and the U.S. government to assist tenants and landlords unable to cover rent because of economic hardships tied directly to the pandemic.
The County placed Faulks, a Solano County resident, on administrative leave immediately after a search warrant was executed of his personal property. Shortly thereafter, he resigned his employment with the County during the County’s internal investigation.
“We take our stewardship of public funds very seriously,” said Assistant County Administrator Angela Nicholson. “We have taken extra measures to detect fraud and ensure that these funds are provided for the important purposes of keeping families housed during these challenging times.”
Full press release: https://www.marincounty.org/main/county-press-releases/press-releases/2021/cao-embezzlement-121521