Cole Hardware -- which prides itself on being "San Francisco's favorite" has been found guilty of bilking San Francisco taxpayers in a procurement scam, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Cole Hardware is one of 10 co-defendants who conspired to defraud the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission with the city's vendor procurement system between April 2003 and 2007. Cole was working with Sonnie Alan Thomas, a former supervisor of the SFPUC who pleaded guilty in September 2011 for his role in the scam.
Cole employees allegedly submitted invoices to the SFPUC with false descriptions of purchased items. The false invoices allowed Thomas to cover up the fact that he was purchasing the items for his personal benefit, prosecutors said.
"Today we have sent a strong message that the City will not tolerate public servants or vendors who attempt to fleece our hardworking taxpayers," said SFPUC General Manager Ed Harrington.
Cole Hardware has been ordered to pay $51,000 in restitution to the SFPUC.The company will be sentenced on March 23, 2012.
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