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Press Release

Former Texas Health And Human Services Investigator Guilty Of Theft Of Federal Funds

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Texas

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

   BEAUMONT, Texas – A 62-year-old Diboll, Texas woman has pleaded guilty to theft of federal funds in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales. 
Melva Darlene Blakemore pleaded guilty to an Information charging her with theft of federal funds on Mar. 26, 2013 before U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone. 

According to information presented in court, in May of 2008, while Blakemore was employed as a Senior Investigator with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission advised an individual receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance that they had been overpaid $2,520 on their Lone Star Card.  Blakemore told the individual that if they did not repay the money, she would be indicted and prosecuted.  Blakemore also advised the individual that if the money was paid in cash, with no receipt expected, Blakemore would send the money to someone she knew in Austin and that no charges would be filed.  The individual contacted local authorities who were able to observe the individual meeting Blakemore in a Nacogdoches, Texas parking lot.  Blakemore left the parking lot and drove away with the money before stopping to deposit a portion of it into her bank account.  The remainder of the money was found in her vehicle.

Blakemore faces up to 10 years in federal prison and restitution of up to $31,008.00.  A sentencing date has not been set.

This case is being investigated by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Texas Rangers, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Texas Department of Public Safety and the Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall L. Fluke.

Updated March 12, 2015