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December 26, 2011 permalink
Social workers in Oklahoma have been caught in a string of thefts ranging from $50 to $35,000.
Several DHS workers have been prosecuted
Some of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services workers caught in wrongdoing at work ended up being prosecuted, too.
Some of the DHS workers caught in wrongdoing at work ended up being prosecuted, too.
The DHS worker who stole Christmas gift cards was charged with a misdemeanor, petit larceny.
Deborah Jean “Kasey” Parrish, 55, of Cherokee, was fired in August 2009 after pleading guilty.
A bank had donated nine Visa gift cards to be Christmas presents for foster children. They had been placed in gift bags to be handed out along with other presents, records show. A worker discovered four were missing three days before Christmas in 2008.
Parrish claimed she found four $50 cards on Dec. 17, 2008, in the DHS employee parking lot in Alva. She admitted using the cards to make personal purchases at J.C. Penney, Hobby Lobby, Cato and Walmart.
Parrish pleaded guilty in June 2009 to four counts of petit larceny and was put on probation for 30 months. She had to pay $1,649 in fines, fees and court costs and $200 in restitution. She was a social services specialist who had worked at DHS for 14 years.
In a discharge notice, she was told: “Your actions in using the Visa gift cards that belonged to someone else demonstrate you cannot be trusted to complete your job duties in the ethical and honorable manner required.”
Stole from elderly
A DHS worker who stole from elderly DHS clients was fired on Nov. 25, 2008. She eventually pleaded guilty to three felony charges of exploiting a vulnerable adult.
Debra Maxine Roberts, 53, of Chelsea, is on three years' probation. She also was required to serve a 30-day term in the Rogers County jail last year and to make restitution.
“I regret any harm which I have caused these individuals,” she wrote in a statement for a presentence report.
Prosecutors allege she stole $4,497 from an 84-year-old man, $5,905 from a 74-year-old mentally disabled man and $900 from an incapacitated 73-year-old man.
Roberts, an adult protective services specialist, had been appointed a temporary guardian for the men. She had access to their financial accounts so she could pay expenses such as nursing home bills.
Two former DHS social services specialists are serving 10 years on probation for creating fictitious food stamp accounts.
Tsa E. King, 41, of Midwest City, and Douglas Ray Howard, 59, of Oklahoma City, pleaded guilty this year to two counts of conspiracy and two counts of computer fraud. They were fired last year.
Howard acknowledged they obtained more than $20,000 worth of food stamps through their fraud. Each was required to pay $10,346 in restitution.
In one instance, they used the identity of a California 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. Howard had once known the man.
In the second instance, they used the identity of Howard's cousin, who had died at age 15 in California in 1967. They created fictitious children for the cousin, too.
A fired child-welfare specialist, Eileen Filer-Whitson, is serving five years on probation for Medicaid fraud.
While at DHS, she held a second job as a private social worker. Prosecutors allege that at her second job she submitted false claims for Medicaid payments. Prosecutors said she lied in the claims about counseling children who actually received no services.
Filer-Whitson, 47, of Luther, pleaded guilty to the felony charge and was ordered to make $35,000 restitution.
A DHS investigation also found she had claimed to be working simultaneously at DHS and her second job 165 days. She was fired in March 2008.