Justice Dept.: 7 State of Delaware Employees Involved in Theft f - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Justice Dept.: 7 State of Delaware Employees Involved in Theft from Food Benefit Program

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Detrich Simmons-Heath, 54, of Chestertown, Md. (Photo: DOJ) Detrich Simmons-Heath, 54, of Chestertown, Md. (Photo: DOJ)
Kamilah Laws, 39, of Wilmington (Photo: DOJ) Kamilah Laws, 39, of Wilmington (Photo: DOJ)
Nicole Stevens, 43, of Dover (Photo: DOJ) Nicole Stevens, 43, of Dover (Photo: DOJ)
Allison Rivera, 49, of Dover (Photo: DOJ) Allison Rivera, 49, of Dover (Photo: DOJ)
Angelette Brown, 45, Camden (Photo: DOJ) Angelette Brown, 45, Camden (Photo: DOJ)

DELAWARE- Seven state of Delaware employees were arrested and/or indicted for creating fake cases to steal more than $900,000 from the food benefit program, Attorney General Matt Denn announced Tuesday.

All seven were employed by the Department of Health and Social Services  and were responsible for issuing Electronic Benefit Transfer cards, according to Denn. Two women were indicted and arrested last week, two others were indicted but remain at large, one was indicted and arrested previously and still faces charges, and two have already been convicted and sentenced.

DHSS's Audit and Recovery Management Services conducted internal audits and discovered fake and unauthorized EBT accounts created by Division of Social Services case workers who were responsible for case creation and maintenance, according to the Department of Justice. The fake accounts issued varying amounts of food benefits in the form of EBT Cards, investigators said. The fraudulent cards were delivered to State Service Centers in New Castle and Kent County and then intercepted by the suspects working at those locations, who then personally used or sold the cards at a discount, investigators said.

The Department of Justice's Criminal Division, Fraud Division, the Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust, and the DHSS Audit and Recovery Management Services joined together on this months-long investigation, which revealed more than $959,000 in total fraudulent benefits issued by these state workers, the DOJ said.

Last week, Detrich Simmons-Heath, 54, of Chestertown, Md. was arrested and indicted on charges of theft over $100,000, first-degree forgery, falsifying business records, and official misconduct. Simmons-Heath was released on $6,000 unsecured bond.

Kamilah Laws, 39, of Wilmington, was arrested and indicted on charges of theft over $50,000, first-degree forgery, falsifying business records, and official misconduct. Laws was released on $5,000 unsecured bond.

Jo Ellen Edwards, 61, of Felton was charged with theft over $100,000, first-degree forgery, falsifying business records and official misconduct. Edwards is still at large.

Shirlene Davis, 29, of Newark, was charged with theft over $100,000, first-degree forgery, falsifying business records and official misconduct. Davis also remains at large.

Nicole Stevens, 43, of Dover, was arrested in November 2015 on charges of theft over $1,500, official misconduct, first-degree forgery, falsifying business records, and four counts of unlawful use of a payment card for stealing $8,092. Stevens has charges pending.

Allison Rivera, 49, of Dover, pleaded guilty to theft over $1,500, unlawful use of a payment card and falsifying business records. Rivera was sentenced in April to two years of level two probation, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $27,751.58.

Angelette Brown, 45, of Camden, pleaded guilty to theft over $1,500, unlawful use of a payment card, and official misconduct. Brown was sentenced in April to two years of level two probation, ordered to do 240 hours of community service, and forced to repay the $15,957 she took.

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