The problem with government workers is that they know all the ways to bilk the system and they do. Why not? Very few are caught and those that are might even get to keep their jobs unless convicted in a court of law. Carmen Villarreal knew the system well and would go on the list of recipients and instead of closing the account, she would just change where the money was sent to. Then in 2015 someone whose account was supposed be closed asked why it was open and the investigation led to Villarreal.
Villarreal who worked for the state’s Health and Human Services Agency pleaded “no contest” to falsifying accounts, welfare fraud and identity theft, which are all felonies under current state laws and punishable by serious jail time.
Villarreal’s illegal escapade was uncovered in late 2015 when a welfare recipient apparently had asked for her case file to be closed a long while back, only to discover that her case file remained opened and that benefits were being used in her name.
Moreover, when investigators began to look into the apparent discrepancies, it was revealed that between February and October of 2015, Villarreal had accessed the Electronic Benefit Transfer cards and personal identification numbers of accounts that were designated to be terminated, however, remained open.
The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office apparently worked out an arraignment where Villarreal after serving her 7-month jail sentence will also receive a 3-year probation and must pay restitution of $1,009.18.
I think her getting only 7 months is a travesty of justice.