San Bernardino, the California city government, which has said it will seek bankruptcy court protection, is being investigated for possible criminal activity by the county sheriff's department.

The investigation, which is also being conducted by the San Bernardino County District Attorney and the city's police department, began "several months ago" at the request of city officials, the sheriff's department said yesterday in a statement posted on its website.

The investigation was ongoing and details wouldn't be released, according to the statement.

Interim city manager Andrea Travis-Miller said there was no evidence of fraud or criminal activity, only accounting practices "that were sloppy at best."

The city council voted July 10 to file for municipal bankruptcy. If it files a Chapter 9 petition, it would be the third California city this year to seek court protection. A Chapter 9 filing allows the city to suspend payments to creditors while it seeks court approval for a plan that balances its revenue with its debt.

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