United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington
FORMER DSHS EMPLOYEE SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR STEALING FROM CHILD CARE PROGRAM
Financial Tech Conspired to Steal Nearly $70,000 with Phony Claims
ERIKA ALLEN-WILLIAMS, 39, of Seattle, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to four months in prison, four months of home confinement, three years of supervised release and $69,918.77 in restitution for conspiracy to commit theft of government funds and misuse of a social security number. Chief Judge Robert S. Lasnik imposed the sentence.
ALLEN-WILLIAMS, who was a Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) technical analyst, is the last of six defendants to be sentenced for conspiring with others to submit fraudulent child-care subsidy claims to DSHS for child care services that were never provided. In December 2010, the leader of the scheme, Janice Mann-Wilson, was sentenced to 15 months in prison and more than $156,000 in restitution. Mann-Wilson was also a DSHS employee.
According to records filed in the case, beginning in about May 2007, ALLEN-WILLIAMS began working with Mann-Wilson in a scheme to submit false information to DSHS to get payments for child care services that were never provided. As a financial specialist at DSHS, ALLEN-WILLIAMS was able to approve the fraudulent applications without requiring the verifying data DSHS usually requires. ALLEN-WILLIAMS recruited her sister to claim that she was providing child care for ALLEN-WILLIAMS’ children. No child care was provided, but ALLEN-WILLIAMS, her sister, and co-conspirator Mann-Wilson split more than $29,000 in fraudulently obtained funds. After ALLEN-WILLIAMS had a falling out with Mann-Wilson, she continued the scheme with others, falsely obtaining another $30,000 in payments for child care that was never provided. The scheme came to light when an anonymous letter was sent to DSHS alerting investigators to the fraud.
ALLEN-WILLIAMS pleaded guilty in September 2010.
In asking for a year in prison, prosecutors wrote to the court that “in undertaking these crimes, the Defendant stole from a fund specifically designated to assist some of the community’s poorest working families, thereby threatening the government’s ability to assist these families in future. The consequences are particularly significant in the current economic climate, where the need for these programs is great and the resources to fund them are limited.”
The case was investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG) and the Seattle Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Seth Wilkinson. Mr. Wilkinson is an attorney with the Social Security Administration, specially designated to prosecute criminal benefit fraud cases in federal court.