Mississippi Department of Public Safety Agrees to Civil Settlement
On December 15, 2021, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi entered into a civil agreement with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (MS DPS) regarding the misuse of Federal grant funds. The agreement stipulates that in lieu of the pursuit of civil action claims under the False Claims Act, MS DPS will pay the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) $75,000, forfeit all claims to a December 2016 voucher totaling approximately $541,535.12, and require State troopers to notify dispatch when working overtime that involves any U.S. Department of Transportation funding.
DOT-OIG initiated the investigation in 2016 based on allegations that multiple Mississippi State troopers were “ghosting tickets”—falsifying traffic citations in an attempt to qualify for overtime on NHTSA-funded “Click It or Ticket” and DWI grant programs. The investigation revealed various administrative and accountability issues pertaining to MS DPS and its administration of NHTSA grant funding. The agreement between the United States Attorney’s Office and MS DPS neither admits liability nor states that the claims are not well founded.
The investigation was conducted with significant assistance from NHTSA.