Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Temp Job Leads One to Rob

In order for temporary workers to function effectively, they often must be given the same access and responsibilities as regular employees. But the damage can be far from temporary when one of them takes advantage of the situation. In January, the Indy Star reported that a woman employed by a temporary staffing firm was assigned to an Indiana state contractor in charge of administering welfare benefits. While there she was caught abusing her position to illegally collect social services checks for herself and others. (The crime itself is bad enough, but it also casts an unfair shadow over every honest temp employee out there.)

The scope of her work included evaluating applicants’ eligibility for social services, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP). Prosecutors allege that she took advantage of this position by forging documents and engaging in corrupt business influence (a fancy term for sharing her fraud with others), among other crimes, so that she could steal more than $100,000 from the state-sponsored programs that her company administered.

Soon the woman faced more than 35 felony charges, including perjury, forgery and theft, for her activities that illegally secured more than $20,000 in benefits for others and $79,489 for herself (okay, so she’s not that good at sharing). Ultimately, she accepted a plea agreement that required her to admit to charges welfare fraud and forgery—both felonies—and repay the government for the stolen benefits. She also was sentenced to two years community corrections, followed by four years of probation. (Let’s hope there’s one permanent outcome of this case: an example to others that fraud leaves a mark.)

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