Responsible drivers know that when you get into a fender bender, you pull over and exchange insurance information with the other driver. But what happens when the other driver has a bogus insurance card? It’s fortunate that in today’s Fraud of the Day story, no one had to find out. NJ.com reports that a former New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS) worker was caught using New Jersey resources to fake car insurance documents and illegally enroll herself in benefits programs. (Let’s hope someone hides her keysor better yet, let’s throw away the keys.)
A DHS payroll clerk was caught using her work computer to falsify motor vehicle insurance identification cards and notarized letters from childcare providers. In addition to illegally using and selling the fake insurance cards to others, the 39-year-old clerk used the phony childcare letters to deceive welfare providers into approving her as a recipient of benefits for which she otherwise would not have qualified. (I brake for audacity.)
After investigators uncovered that she stole $1,000 in section 8 housing vouchers and another $3,635 from various other social services programs, the clerk was put in front of a different type of civil servant: a judge, who, after accepting her plea agreement, sentenced the DHS clerk to 364 days in prison. She also must pay back the stolen funds, fulfill 30 days of community service and is forbidden to accept any future public employment. (Honk if you love justice!)
The entire point of a Human Services Department is to ensure that the government provides help to its constituents who need it most. A state employee who knowingly and purposefully derails these efforts directly impacts community members and deteriorates the foundational trust between state and citizen. Hopefully while this former public servant does her time, she will be driven to reflect on how to better serve society. (My new bumper sticker idea: Smile, you’re on Fraud of the Day!)
Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on ”Ex-state worker sentenced to jail for insurance fraud, food stamp theft,” written by Samantha Marcus and published by NJ.com on January 29, 2016.
A former state employee was sentenced to jail Friday for using her work computer to falsify documents and steal public food and housing assistance.
As a payroll clerk in the state Department of Human Services, Laquanda Tate, 39, of Trenton, used state resources to create bogus insurance cards for herself and for sale to others, according to the Attorney General’s Office. She pleaded guilty in October to third-degree charges of simulating a motor vehicle insurance identification card and theft by deception.