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Posted on Mon, May 20, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

Former state employee pleads guilty to scamming $19,832 from welfare office

By John Counts

A 46-year-old Belleville woman has admitted to scamming an office of the Department of Human Services out of $19,832 in welfare money, according to the state attorney general's 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.

John Counts covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Tue, May 21, 2013 : 9:29 a.m.

Do you know how many people would be in jail for lying to DHS about their living status and currently collecting benefits!!! It's messed up she worked there and was doing it, but there are a lot of people that lie to collect that assisance. They will even have children for the sole purpose of collecting some benefits. Not because they are in a loving relationship and want to raise a child with that person. It all makes me sick.


Mon, May 27, 2013 : 4:46 a.m.

Catasetumkid, I highly doubt that by drug testing welfare recipients, Florida spent more than it saved from cutting off those who tested positive (assuming that's what they did). Common sense would tell you there are far more than 2% of recipients that tested positive and cutting them off would save the state a fortune. Those people who draw any sort of welfare, including the bridge cared, should also be examined and checked for new tattoos, piercings, manicures, pedicures, cigarettes, alcohol, automobiles, designer clothing, etc. that so many of the "poor" seem to be able to afford which those tax paying middle class people can't.


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 11:31 p.m.

@Catasetumkid You shouldn't assume things about another person. I'm poor right now. I collect food stamps from the state of Michigan and medical assistance. But I don't lie to get it. I applied because I lost my job and I need the help. I will cancel my benefits when I am in the position to do so. My problem is with the people who abuse the help. Who lied to get it and continue to lie and have more children to collect more! That's wrong in my opinion.


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 2:42 p.m.

@734 - give me some proof. You sound like someone that wants welfare recipients to be drug tested. Read what happened when Florida did that. It cost them a whole lot of money, and 2% tested positive. Your view of the poor is a sad statement on the state of our "culture" in 2013. Do you even know anyone collecting benefits? NO, I didn't think so. You probably also are against free birth control, yet complain when there are unwanted babies.


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 3:09 a.m.

I'm just shocked that the victim couldn't reallocate the taxpayers resources to rent and utilities in any other undetectable way.


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 2:49 a.m.

Maybe she could still resign and get her full pension like the head of the IRS and other government officials who go astray. Most of them are just good people who have last their way; maybe they had troubled childhoods and were traumatized by rich people.....................


Mon, May 27, 2013 : 4:35 a.m.

I know this is sarcasm, that's why I "liked" it. Everyone is a victim, especially the criminals.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 9:43 p.m.

She would log in with their user names and passwords, according to the release. I would think those other two employees should also e terminated for giving her the information to gain access using their user names and passwords. How many other employees share this with other employees? Looks like they may need more investigating. Should be easy to find out, just look at all the history sign ins.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 9:33 p.m.

She has to pay back $19,832 from two thefts she pled guilty to, but nothing for the eight thefts ($85,234?) she pled out of? Huh?


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 9:37 p.m.

She is a liberal democrat, what do you expect?