Thanks to a state settlement with a pharmaceutical company, the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office has received a $350,680 grant that will be used for new patrol cars and police equipment, Sheriff Tony Lippa said.
Grants were also given to dozens of law enforcement agencies around Virginia.
The money is part of the Virginia attorney general’s $115 million fraud settlement in 2012 with Abbott Labs. The company illegally marketed its drug, Depakote, for uses not approved as safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration, said Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in a news release.
Cuccinelli’s Medicaid fraud unit was the lead investigator in this case—the second largest Medicaid fraud settlement in U.S. history—for $1.5 billion. On top of the restitution to the state’s Medicaid program, the office earned the $115 million in asset forfeiture funds for its work as lead investigator. A federal court approved the settlement in May 2012 between the U.S. government, the District of Columbia, Virginia and 48 other states. Abbott Labs representatives pleaded guilty to a criminal charge and admitted civil liability for the unlawful promotion of the prescription drug.
Some money that was given to local law enforcement agency also came from criminals, such as drug dealers, whose assets were seized, such as bank accounts, vehicles, boats and weapons.
“Words cannot describe how important the timing of this grant is,” Lippa said. “This will allow us to replace several high mileage patrol car and miscellaneous patrol equipment that otherwise would have to be replaced at the taxpayer’s expense. While this won’t eliminate all of our replacement needs, it is a tremendous help and great relief to local funds.”
The sheriff’s office staff wrote the grant request and submitted it to the attorney general in June. “I think we made a good needs-based case to the attorney general and that is why we received more than localities of a similar or larger size,” said Major Moser of the Caroline Sheriff’s Office (CCSO).
Over the past five years, the CCSO has applied for and received nearly $1 million in competitive grants.
Cuccinelli noted that some agencies applied for grants to use for training of school resource officers, training at shooting ranges and SWAT teams, as well as new police cruisers, new computers and portable radios, bulletproof vests, night vision equipment for finding missing people and money for gang reduction programs.
The attorney general also gave these amounts to the following nearby agencies: $251,025 to Fredericksburg to upgrade the emergency radio equipment; $124,022 to the Fredericksburg Police Department to buy a mobile data information system and fireproof the sheriff’s office; $151,681 for an active shooter response program for officers in the Ashland Police Department and a mobile license plate reader for two vehicles; $577,959 to the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office for a tactical alarm and notification system and 43 mobile data terminals; $149,700 to the King George Sheriff’s Office to upgrade the digital patroller camera system, portable radios, digital cameras and biohazard drying cabinet; and $67,252 to the King William Sheriff’s Office to replace outdated mobile computers.