Judge-training agency settles complaint

RENO — A nonprofit agency that trains juvenile and family court judges has agreed to pay $300,000 to settle a complaint by the U.S. Department of Justice that it fraudulently obtained grants and used the money to hire ghost workers and employees’ spouses.

Under the settlement, the Reno-based National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges admits no wrongdoing.

In a related matter, Serena Hulbert, a special projects manager at the council who was fired after questioning the group’s billing practices, filed a separate lawsuit saying she was wrongfully terminated for questioning the bogus grant transactions, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported Wednesday.

Hulbert’s lawyer, Mark Thierman, said although the organization was ordered to pay $300,000, the government investigation found $2.4 million in misused funds.

He said he hoped federal prosecutors would follow up with a criminal case.

“My client shouldn’t be made to suffer because the Justice Department made a deal,” he said.

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