Former state employee pleads guilty to scamming $19,832 from welfare office
Court records indicate the offenses took place in the city of Ypsilanti.
Dawn Simmons, who worked as an eligibility specialist for the DHS, pleaded guilty to one count of false pretenses, between $999 and $20,000, and one count of fraudulent access to a computer, according to court records. Both counts are felonies, punishable by up to five years in prison.
In exchange for the pleas, eight similar charges will be dismissed at sentencing, court records indicate. Simmons enter the plea May 15 in the Washtenaw County Trial Court.
Simmons processed false claims for assistance in her brother's name, who she said lived with her in Belleville when he, in fact, did not, according to a release from the State Attorney General's office. Investigators believe Simmons filed the claims on her co-workers' computers without their knowledge. She would log in with their user names and passwords, according to the release.
The attorney general's office said she used the $19,832 in benefits fraudulently obtained from September 2009 to February 2012 to pay rent and utilities at her apartment.
"Any public servants who abuse the public trust to defraud the Michigan taxpayers will be held accountable," Attorney General Bill Schuette stated in the release. "We will continue to work with (Michigan Department of Human Services Director Maura) Corrigan to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse, wherever it is found."
Simmons was placed on unpaid leave following the filing of criminal charges on December 12, 2012, according to the attorney general's office. She was arraigned in district court later that month when a magistrate released her on a personal recognizance bond.
There is no booking picture available of Simmons, according to the sheriff's office. She will have to pay back the state the $19,832 as restitution.
Simmons is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Archie Brown June 26.