Tuesday, May 24, 2011

U.S. Attorney Announces Arrest Of FSSA Workers In "Large-Scale Theft"

Just two day after announcing he would not be seeking the Republican presidential nomination, the Daniels' administration has been rocked by an announcement today by U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett of employees of his embattled Family & Social Services Administration being indicted on charges of a "large-scale theft." Hogsett has scheduled a press conference at 1:30 p.m. to announce the charges. Gov. Mitch Daniels is telling State House reporters his administration uncovered the wrongdoing and "turned over the miscreants" to federal authorities for prosecution. More to come.


Three former employees of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration face federal theft charges, accused of stealing nearly $200,000 from federal programs administered by the agency.

U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett said Tuesday that the workers -- Robert Edwards, Timberly Snyder and Adina Lopez -- were involved in "large-scale theft."

The indictment alleges that Edwards, Snyder and Lopez created dozens of EBT cards, taking a total of $191,103.89 from food stamp funds and money used to provide temporary assistance for needy families, among other funding programs.

The thefts occurred from December 2008 through April 2010, Hogsett said.

Authorities said Edwards, Snyder and Lopez generated fraudulent benefit cards in the names of more than 100 people, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported

The cards were used to get money from ATMs and were used to buy various items, authorities said, and some of the cards were sold to third parties.

The thefts were discovered by state officials, but the investigation was turned over to federal authorities because the case involved federal funds.

"Anyone who steals from Hoosier taxpayers will be held strictly accountable by this office. This is particularly so when it is theft by public employees, people who have violated our trust," Hogsett said.

Edwards, Snyder and Lopez each face a maximum of 10 years in prison and up to $250,000 fine.
This is "large-scale theft?" What about the nearly half billion dollars wasted to put money in the pockets of private contractors in a failed effort to privatize the state's welfare delivery system? I guess "large-scale theft" is in the eyes of the beholder. Wake us up, Joe, when your office decides to tackle real public corruption in this state.


Paul K. Ogden said...

Gary, I agree. The large scale theft was the private contractors who ran the system into the ground.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

So,you guys are comparing this to contracts that were publicly let, and books that are open to the public?
Do you think the old welfare system was better? Look at what these three just did in a short period of time. Imagine how many $$MILLION$ of tax dollars were stolen by people in the welfare system.
Ever stand in a grocery line and see what people buy with YOUR credit cards?

Advance Indiana said...

As Carl Moldthan learned, the biggest problem pre-privatization was the lack of tools by welfare workers to do their job (e.g., outdated computers that were not connected to a relational database). The welfare workers didn't have the tools to do their jobs efficiently and accurately. The public was told the privatization would save $500 million over 10 years. In fact, FSSA knew it wouldn't save one dime. Instead, we wound up spending about that much trying to implement a system that had even more shortcomings than the old system. It was all about putting money into the pockets of big campaign contributors and political insiders at the expense of the public and the people who were suppose to be served by the new system.

Advance Indiana said...

And it's a bit of a stretch, CT, to say the contact was publicly bid. Everyone knew who the winner was as soon as the RFP hit the street. There were only two bids submitted for one of the largest state contracts ever awarded. It was pointless for other bidders to tender a proposal when the winner was a foregone conclusion.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

OK, AI, I accept your explanation.

rohshack147 said...

If only Hogsett would look into FSSA awarding his old employer ACS the ill fated contract! I mean if he would just go after Mitch Roob he could right his own ticket!

Paul K. Ogden said...

CT, there was no public bid on the contract. And, yes, the old system was better than the one IBM/ACS came up with. There were no savings and plenty of problems.

kate said...

The three arrested were State of Indiana employees, - NOT from the privatization company, Affiliated Computer Services. This can be confirmed by state payroll records. Google it. The problem is not the privatization, the problem is no one is watching the watchers. State employee's persecute, intimidate, and bully the staff of the private company. State employee's carry 1/4 of the weight the privatization employee's carry. State employee's have not facilitated an environment that promoted the success of Affiliated Computer Services and have not been forthright in identifying the real problems that could correct the conundrums that are desperately needed. Who's watching whom?

Advance Indiana said...

There was an RFP process undertaken. RFPs are often criticized because they lend themselves to a great deal of subjective grading of proposals that are tendered, but that is the typical mode of bidding used for a contract for services. Many service contracts are awarded without any RFP process.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Kate, ACS screws up everything it touches. It gets contracts solely because of its political influence, contributing lots of money to candidates, hiring the right former govenment officials and getting insiders such as Joe Loftus to do their bidding, ignoring conflict of interest rules.

The sad fact is that who is going after IBM now on behalf of FSSA? Barnes & Thornburgh, the attorneys for ACS, the subcontractor to IBM. It's the worst conflict of interest I have ever seen. B&T even says in the contract it might have to sue ACS, a current client. That's not even a waivable conflict of interest under the disciplinary rules.

Cato said...

Yes, CT, I do see what people buy with ***MY!!!!!!*** credit cards.

Steaks, bread, beer, cigarettes, lottery tickets, who cares?

The federal budget is 3.83 trillion. There are 310 million people in the country. If we gave the federal expenditures equally among all the people, each person would get an annual check for $12,354,838.

With that amount of money in everyone's hands, we could close the government, as people could easily provide for themselves.

Only Republicans get furious at seeing their neighbor get a free t-bone, but don't bat an eye over a defense contractor making billions.

By the way, if it takes $12 million in government to administer services to me, our government is working on a very failed business model, as I come nowhere near generating that much in net revenue to the government.