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October 18, 2010 permalink
Oklahoma social workers have a new use for welfare money: feeding children who were never born.
Two Oklahoma DHS employees charged with felony
Oklahoma DHS workers accused of fraudulently obtaining food stamps have been placed on administrative leave.
Two Oklahoma DHS employees were accused Tuesday in a felony charge of cheating the state out of more than $18,000 in food stamps.
Tsa E. King, 40, of Midwest City, and Douglas Ray Howard, 58, of Oklahoma City, are charged with two counts of conspiracy and two counts of computer fraud. Both are on administrative leave from the Department of Human Services. They worked as social services specialists.
Prosecutors allege the two twice resorted to identity theft to get food stamps for themselves.
In one instance, they used the identity of a Stockton, Calif., man who has never been to Oklahoma, a DHS investigator reported. The man was described on a DHS computer as needing food stamps because he was homeless and later because he had two newborn twin girls. He actually did not have any infant daughters.
In the second instance, they used the identity of a 15-year-old boy who died of an asthmatic episode in 1967 in Stockton, Calif., the DHS investigator reported. He also was given fictitious children.
Howard once lived in Stockton, records show.
DHS agents reported they collected store video recordings that depict King, Howard and others using the food stamps.
"Incidents of employee fraud actually are very rare,” a DHS spokeswoman said.
DHS only had one similar case in the last two years, the spokeswoman said. "That's really due to the methods that they have of monitoring activity,” she said. "They are designed to catch this kind of activity.”
Phone calls to the defendants for comment were not answered. A prosecutor did not know if they have hired attorneys.
Thanks to an Oklahoma reader for the alert