All seven were employed by the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), and were responsible for issuing Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, and three previous arrests were also related to the same investigation.
Two of the defendants were indicted and arrested last week, two others were indicted and remain at large, one was indicted and arrested previously and still faces charges, and two have already been convicted and sentenced.
Based on internal audits conducted by DHSS’s Audit and Recovery Management Services, investigators learned of fictitious and unauthorized EBT accounts created by Division of Social Services case workers responsible for case creation and maintenance, with each of the fraudulently created cases issued varying amounts of food benefits in the form of EBT cards. The investigation revealed that the fraudulent EBT cards were delivered to State Service Centers in New Castle and Kent County, and intercepted by the suspects working at those locations. Once intercepted, the cards were personally used or sold at a discount.
These indictments are the result of a months-long joint effort of prosecutors and investigators from the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, Fraud Division and the Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust, along with the DHSS Audit and Recovery Management Services. The investigation eventually revealed more than $959,000 in total fraudulent benefits issued by several state workers.