fare them well

tracking what’s changing for welfare, women and children

Ind. apartment owner told to give back welfare funds

In the season that celebrates giving, one Indianapolis apartment agency may be returning welfare aid for alleged illegal actions.

WRTV-TV reports the Indiana Housing Authority is calling for the owners of the Phoenix Apartments to repay $300,000.

Officials said the complex failed to disclose required information to qualify for the payments.

14748128_240x180.jpg Bud Myers, of the Indianapolis Housing Authority, said RCM Phoenix Partners, which owns the Phoenix apartments, supplied incorrect information to the agency to get federal aid. Myers also said there are other problems, WRTV-TV reports.

The apartment complex recently drew local and national attention as the location where a 3-year-old was tortured and beaten to death by her parents.

Federal rules require welfare landlords to disclose troubled business deals and legal problems. RCM has until Dec. 14 to repay the money or challenge the order.


December 10, 2007 Posted by | Busted, Courts and Crime, Legally Speaking | , , | Leave a comment

Welfare worker sentenced for stealing more than $100,000

Fictitious families received more than $105,654 over five years according to prosecutors in a case against a Georgia woman accused of stealing money from the welfare office she worked at. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Gayla Owens, 43, a 15-year veteran of the state Division of Family and Children Services, pleaded guilty to stealing the money.

Fulton County Assistant District Attorney Kellie Hill said of the workers used the money to pay off gambling debts, she said. Hill said these workers have the responsibility to use tax dollars to help needy families.

None of the workers is still employed by DFCS.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville Owens to 15 years of probation and said she must avoid employment that allows her access to public funds.
Related: Welfare worked pleads guilty to bilking agency of $105,654

December 10, 2007 Posted by | Busted, Courts and Crime | , , , | Leave a comment

To catch a welfare thief, start with the state

In a Nov. 23 article by The Advocate out of Baton Rouge, LA, the numbers are clear, but the destination is not.

Millions of dollars are given away each year in public assistance programs such as TANF, but many government officials don’t know where they end up.

According to the article, during the past fiscal year, Louisiana spent more than $42 million in two TANF-funded cash assistance programs it administers — the Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program and the Kinship Care Subsidy Program.

But the federal law that created TANF in 1996 requires state agencies to confirm “the state has established and is enforcing standards and procedures to ensure against program fraud and abuse,” the article said.

But policy experts say the broad definition of welfare fraud makes it hard to catch.

  • Elizabeth Lower-Basch, a senior policy analyst for the Center for Law and Social Policy, said in an e-mail that she does not know of any state that puts specific limits on how TANF cash assistance may be spent, so there is technically no such thing as “misuse of funds.”
  • Kenneth Wolfe, spokesman for the national Administration for Children and Families said the federal government ultimately oversees the funding of cash assistance programs, but it is the state and local agencies that are the direct administrators.
  • “No state in the nation monitors what is purchased with the monthly benefits,” Louisiana Department of Social Services spokeswoman Cleo Allen said.

November 26, 2007 Posted by | Busted, Critiques & Critics, Legally Speaking | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CA woman arrested for 5-figure welfare fraud

According to the Ventura County Star, one local woman may (greedily) take the cake for the largest welfare fraud case in the county.

Police this week arrested an Oxnard woman on suspicion of stealing more than $41,000 in cash aid and food stamps.

Police report she was not entitled to receive the assistance.

“This is actually one of our largest welfare fraud cases,” said Vinse Gilliam, deputy chief investigator with the district attorney.

If convicted, Teresa Arias, 34, could be sent to prison for up to three years.

Her possible illegal Ventura venture has led me to create a category dedicated to those who’ve heisted public funds.

November 19, 2007 Posted by | Busted, Legally Speaking | , , , | Leave a comment

Ex-commerce official fesses up to welfare fraud

Newsday.com reports that a New Jersey public official faked a low-income status in order to collect benefits.

Lesly Devereaux was formerly second-in-command of the state Commerce Commission.

In a trial hearing on Oct. 26, The Associated Press reports, “She told the judge she applied for food stamps as a clerk-typist when she was really a private-practice lawyer. She collected about six months worth of benefits for children living in her home, which she’ll have to repay, lawyers said.”

The 49-year-old faces five to 10 years in prison when she’s sentenced in December.

She’ll also be disbarred and prohibited from holding any public-sector job in the state.

Oh, and Deveraux’s lawyer says she would’ve qualified for the benefits, had she not lied. The reason she made up her status? She was embarrassed.

It’s cases like this that bring the icky stereotype to light; women like Deveraux are the reason the welfare queen stereotype perpetuates. She would’ve been like every other person seeking extra assistance for a temporary hardship, but she was too proud to be humble.

October 29, 2007 Posted by | Busted, Politicking | , , , | Leave a comment

Broke and Busted: NYPD Mom on Welfare While Working

Late last month, The New York Post reported a 25-year-old mother attending Police Academy was busted for collecting both a salary and welfare.

Claribel Polanco was living off $1000 in welfare benefits, in addition to the $25,100 she earned as an NYPD Cadet. At the same time, Polanco doubled her duty as a college student. When Polanco failed to notify welfare officials that she was hired by the NYPD in January, she kept collecting benefits illegally.

Peter Moskos, a criminal justice professor and veteran of the Baltimore City Police Department, says Polanco’s ploy ain’t new news to him.

No, according to Moskos ( a fellow blogger) a salary stretch such as this doesn’t make Polanco morally bankrupt. Once a police officer himself, he says’ struggle is the name of the salary game.

<blockquote></blockquote>The starting salary of the NYPD is $25,100 a year. Granted it goes up a lot after 6 months, but still. How can you live off this for 6 months when you’re not allowed to hold secondary jobs and can’t make overtime? I was making $28,400 when I was hired as a police officer… 8 years ago… in Baltimore. I could get by, but I had no family, no car payments, and $300/month rent. You can’t live in New York City on that money.

Perhaps her situation wins one for the policy team chanting ‘welfare doesn’t discriminate.’ One officer, as quoted in the New York Daily News says Polanco is persona of problems faced by many young people trying to enter into a stable job whose salary doesn’t support them.

<blockquote></blockquote>She’s all the problems in a nutshell – a trifecta,” one police source said. The department pays dirt, so all they can hire are kids on welfare. … So she committed a crime to get by. And now the department has a criminal on the books – and she’s not even out of the Police Academy yet.

Polanco’s problem may cue a new conversation on the working poor. To date, the state of New York has nine campaigns for a living wage. For more info, see the Living Wage Ordinances in New York, Sept. 2005

The Economic Policy Institute says a living wage is “usually the wage a full-time worker would need to earn to support a family above federal poverty line, ranging from 100% to 130% of the poverty measurement.”

Right now, the living wage law for New York City assures a salary of $10 an hour for 50,000 employees in service fields, contracted for city work; that does not include police officers.

And so the fight for fair pay wages on.

October 15, 2007 Posted by | Busted | , , , , | Leave a comment