From the Chicago Daily Herald:
Former state worker gets jail, probation for food stamp scam
By Josh Stockinger
June 11, 2012
A former caseworker for the Illinois Department of Human Services was sentenced to probation and jail Monday for stealing nearly $22,000 in food stamps, some of which she sold to friends and relatives at a discount.
Well, at least she gave them a discount. So there was some ‘social justice’ at work.
Ebony Martin, 34, of Maywood, pleaded guilty to felony theft in April. She was sentenced to three years of probation, a month in jail and full restitution by DuPage County Judge Robert Kleeman.
A month in jail seems like a slap on the wrist to us.
Prosecutors said Martin was working at the IDHS office in Villa Park when she set up a public-assistance plan for a Lisle man who turned out to be her boyfriend and his four fictitious children.
Probably her only crime was loving too much.
In less than a year, authorities said, the couple collected $21,866 in food benefits. Martin sold some of the proceeds to friends and family members at half price, Prosecutor Diane Michalak said in court.
“She was making a profit on top of defrauding the government,” Michalak said.
Illinois State Police Sgt. Daphne Bankston testified that the scheme was uncovered after the Illinois Inspector General’s Office received a tip last year. She said an investigation showed Martin inflated the benefits by using bogus social security numbers to make it look like her boyfriend had four children when he didn’t.
“She admitted she created the file and kept it at her desk because she knew it was fraudulent,” Bankston testified.
And notice that this was only uncovered because of a ‘tip.’ There is nothing in the system to catch it.
How many other similarly place employees are doing similar things?
Martin offered a brief apology in court, saying she was “embarrassed by the decision I made.”
Kleeman said he was “puzzled” at why Martin would steal, given her education, employment and lack of a prior criminal history…
Martin must report to jail June 18 and pay restitution within three years. With credit for time served, she will be jailed for 13 days, authorities said.
Police are still searching for her former boyfriend, 39-year-old Keith B. Jones, who was charged in March with felony theft and state benefits fraud, according to court records…
According to other reports, Ms. Martin has also been placed on administrative leave from her job at the Illinois Department of Human Services.
All of which sounds pretty mild to us.