Horizon Cross Cultural Center Closes Its Doors After Investigation

Thy Vo for Voice of OC

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.