A former University of California, Davis, employee whom officials have accused of inflating crime statistics may have funneled university money into a private account and paid her mortgage with it, campus police said in a court document released this week.
JOSE M. OSORIO / Bee file, 2000Jennifer Beeman, ex-director of the UC Davis Campus Violence Prevention Program, is seen in her former office. Beeman retired from UCD before allegations surfaced that she had inflated rape statistics.
Published: Friday, Jan. 1, 2010 - 12:00 am | Page 4B
As part of their embezzlement probe of Jennifer Beeman, investigators also raised the question of whether she had appropriately paid $540,000 to a Bay Area woman and her companies over a seven-year period.
Reached at home Thursday, Beeman declined to comment.
Police detailed their suspicions regarding Beeman, the former director of the UC Davis Campus Violence Prevention Program, in court papers filed as they sought a search warrant in early December.
Yolo Superior Court made the statement available this week.
In it, UC Davis Police Sgt. Paul Henoch wrote that Beeman, 52, first came under scrutiny in September 2008 for overstating her travel expenses.
Further investigation showed that she had asked for reimbursement for airfare to San Diego when her ticket had already been paid for by an outside group. She had also submitted travel mileage for meetings she did not attend, Henoch wrote.
University officials requested an internal audit and placed Beeman on administrative leave.
In February 2009, the audit concluded that Beeman had improperly submitted travel expenses of more than $1,000.
In October, campus officials said she had repaid $1,372 and retired in June.
On the same day, they also revealed Beeman had grossly inflated the number of forcible sexual offenses in three years of mandatory reports to the federal government. No reason was given.
Administrators also said in October that police were pursuing a second investigation into Beeman's finances.
Details of that investigation were spelled out in a Dec. 1 statement by Henoch. He wrote that investigators had learned in early 2009 that Beeman had a "secret" checking account for a campus program called Take Back the Night.
Beeman told a co-worker that she had paid her home mortgage from the account, he wrote.
The account was located in July at the USE Credit Union, with Beeman listed as the only signatory, the police sergeant said in his statement.
Auditors found that nearly $12,000 in university funds had been deposited into the account, and Beeman had withdrawn $5,400 for personal use between January 2002 to March 2009, Henoch wrote.
The auditors also found that Beeman had authorized $25,000 in payments of federal grant funds to a company run by a woman named Granate Sosnoff to produce a campus anti-violence guide that was never completed, he wrote.
In November, Henoch said he discovered that the Campus Violence Prevention Program had paid Sosnoff and various media and marketing firms that she controlled more than $540,000 between May 2000 and April 2007.
"At this time it is unknown what type of relationship Beeman and Sosnoff have over the years," he wrote, "if it is strictly business or if monies have exchanged hands between them."
Sosnoff, who lives in Oakland, did not respond to a phone message Thursday.
The 47-year-old woman developed a series of acclaimed rape awareness posters for the university that were paid for with federal grant dollars.
The striking posters for the campaign, called "Voices Not Victims," were featured in Ms. magazine and sought by other universities and the Ford Foundation's office in Africa, according to a university press release from 2001.
The search warrant approved in December by Yolo Superior Court Judge Thomas Warriner sought bank records for both Beeman and Sosnoff.
UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza said Thursday that, to her knowledge, the banks have not yet returned the requested records.
No decisions about whether to charge Beeman or Sosnoff will be made until they do, she said.
"This is an open investigation," Spicuzza said. "We're going to look at everything."