Horizon Cross Cultural Center Closes Its Doors After Investigation

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Thy Vo for Voice of OC

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The Horizon Cross Cultural Center, which has provided supportive services to new Vietnamese immigrants since 1976, closed its doors last month as it struggles to pay more than $1.7 million to settle charges that it falsified records and over-billed government agencies for transportation services to elderly residents.

Last year an internal investigation released by the Orange County Transportation Authority found that the director of Horizon’s transportation services and a project manager falsified trip records and billed both the county and city of Garden Grove for bus trips that never occurred.

The Orange-based nonprofit has received about $1.2 million in federal funds through the Transportation Authority since 2009, “without adequate supporting documentation for invoiced amounts,” according to the investigation.

According to Derrick Hoang Nguyen, an attorney and board member for the nonprofit, Horizon ceased doing business on Jan. 15 although it has retained three employees to help wind down the organization’s obligations.

The group’s existing clients have been referred to other local groups that provide language and immigration services, Nguyen said.

Horizon was founded in 1976 to provide job, health, transportation and other supportive services to Vietnamese refugees and other immigrant populations.

“All in all, it was a very sad situation. The center has been around for almost 40 years, and we have done a lot of good work and services for different generations,” Nguyen said. “We provided services for people who just came [to the U.S.,], to the time they got a job, to the time they became a US citizen and in their old age.”

Contact Thy Vo at tvo@voiceofoc.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.

  • Kathleen Tahilramani

    “Last year an internal investigation released by the Orange County Transportation Authority found that the director of Horizon’s transportation services and a project manager falsified trip records and billed both the county and city of Garden Grove for bus trips that never occurred.”

    So that’s it? That’s a wrap… nothing more happens? Nobody get’s charged with fraud? Where did the money go? Just close up shop and walk off into the sunset? Could there be or better yet should there be more to the story?

    Something here seems very suspect.

    • LFOldTimer

      Yet the County spent tens of thousands to prosecute Steve Rocco of taking a half-empty ketchup bottle from Chapman U. ha.
      Anyone who can’t see the similarities between OC and TJ has to be intentionally blind.

      • Kathleen Tahilramani

        I remember the ketchup caper – the crime of the century! Rocco was/is not “connected and protected” and got on the nerves of the stuffy elite. Something about the OCTA mess stinks of someone with pull getting favored treatment.

  • LFOldTimer

    So will anyone go to jail for bilking the taxpayers out of all this loot? Or does “cross-cultural” mean it’s immune from prosecution? A shoplifter caught stealing a loaf of bread gets prosecuted. But a million dollar bilker gets a pass? More inequality under the law.

    • BeeBee.BeeLeaves

      Exactly LFOldTimer. There is something especially awful when groups like these, entrusted to do good, do bad and betray public trust. I know of a few other groups that have travelled that same road. One even got offices from GG via ex leaders for a buck per year and still bilked the public. Amazing. Sad. No wonder the State’s Attorney General had to open a whole office and staff to prosecute these type of things.

  • BeeBee.BeeLeaves

    From We the People of GG? (Rolls eyes). Not cool Horizons. Not cool. In those 40 years of service exactly how much was taken from Garden Grove? We ask for trees, we ask for better things and it’s always “No. No money. Go away.” And now this comes out from one group. How many more out there have milked and bilked us in GG? Anyone? Anyone? Uggh.