“We’re pleased that Mr. Santos has been indicted on federal criminal charges following our investigation and civil enforcement actions.”
“We’re pleased that Mr. Santos has been indicted on federal criminal charges following our investigation and civil enforcement actions. Our civil investigation uncovered that Mr. Santos defrauded his clients, forged permits and created public safety hazards by sidestepping building codes. Our office is dedicated to keeping residents safe, upholding the law and rooting out fraud. We are committed to holding those who abuse the law accountable. I want to thank the investigators, attorneys and other professionals in our office that uncovered these schemes. I commend the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for building a criminal case and charging Mr. Santos.”
Herrera’s office is currently conducting a joint public integrity investigation with the San Francisco Controller’s Office. The City Attorney’s Office’s Public Integrity and Investigations Team has focused on employees and contractors complicit in the criminal conduct alleged in federal filings.
The Controller’s Office has issued several public reports and will continue to assess selected city policies and procedures to evaluate their adequacy in preventing abuse and fraud. The Controller’s Office has announced that it will issue reports on DBI’s permitting and inspection processes as well as the SFPUC’s contracting processes later this year. The Controller has already issued reports on:
- San Francisco Public Works Contracting (issued June 29, 2020)
- Gifts to Departments through Non-City Organizations Lack Transparency and Create “Pay to Play” Risk (issued September 24, 2020)
- San Francisco’s Debarment Process (issued November 5, 2020)
- Ethical Standards for Contract Award Processes of the Airport Commission and Other Commissions and Boards (issued January 11, 2021)
- Refuse Rate-Setting Process Lacks Transparency and Timely Safeguards (issued April 14, 2021)
The criminal case against Santos came after of a civil enforcement action by Herrera, who uncovered the scheme and alleged in an amended civil lawsuit unsealed in March 2020 that Santos was engaging in check fraud. The original lawsuit, which was filed in September 2018, uncovered an elaborate fraud scheme involving excavating under three San Francisco homes without permits. The civil case now alleges that Santos and his associates engaged in permit fraud regarding at least nine different properties in San Francisco.
The civil case is: City and County of San Francisco et al. v. Santos & Urrutia Associates Inc. et al., San Francisco Superior Court case number CGC-18-569923, filed Sept. 20, 2018. Additional information about from the case is available on the City Attorney’s website at: sfcityattorney.org.
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