Greed and stupidity still big in LA County agencies

This could take awhile to fix. The entire County apparatus will have to evolve to a higher level. An entire generation might have to die of natural causes before anything gets better in LA County. Am I kidding? Even I don’t know.

“A welfare worker stole more than $4,000 worth of bus tokens and passes meant for foster children and their families.

“A retirement agency employee fraudulently claimed nearly $90,000 in welfare benefits.

“And another welfare worker falsely told colleagues her father had died and took the money they donated to her in sympathy.

“The three cases are among the most serious cited by a Los Angeles County report made public Wednesday that provides a digest of employee misconduct uncovered as a result of calls to the county’s fraud hotline.


“The misconduct included failing to report outside employment, downloading pornographic material at work and outright theft.


“‘It doesn’t reflect well on the county, but it’s hard to make people understand that when you have 100,000 [workers], some people go bad on you,’ said county Auditor-Controller J. Tyler McCauley, whose office runs the fraud hotline.


“The bus tokens stolen by a Department of Children and Family Services employee were set aside for foster children and relatives who need transportation for such activities as family visits or job interviews, said the department’s director, Patricia S. Ploehn.

“The employee was prosecuted, pleaded guilty to felony theft and was sentenced to three days in jail and three years’ probation.


“Among other cases in Wednesday’s hotline report was that of a retirement specialist who worked for the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Assn., the agency that manages the $43-billion pension fund for most county workers.

“Prosecutors identified the worker as Rita Kay Brown, 52. Brown was accused of using a false identity to fraudulently claim $89,522 in welfare money, food stamps and medical benefits, said James Baker, assistant head deputy of the district attorney’s welfare fraud division.

“She was convicted in June and sentenced to 16 years in prison, he said.

“The welfare worker accused of accepting money from colleagues who thought her father had died has not been referred to prosecutors, but she faces disciplinary action, the report said.

“In another case, an employee with the county’s Probation Department was accused of fraudulently collecting death benefits of more than $130,000 for her husband, who is still alive, the report said.

“Prosecutors identified her as Damaris Amesquita, 30, and said she faces felony charges of insurance fraud, grand theft and bigamy.

“She has pleaded not guilty.”
L.A. County hotline reveals thefts, welfare fraud. One worker took bus tokens meant for foster families; another cheated to collect benefits. In all, 348 investigations were opened in six months, by Jack Leonard, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer, November 22, 2007

Man, what’s wrong with LA County agencies? Do they have preferential hiring for kleptomaniacs?

I don’t know what County workers make, but they have some of the most secure jobs in the country and Cadillac benefits. So what’s with all the stealing? First, there’s the heist at the Department of Children and Family Services and now this. Sheesh, folks, grow a heart and get smart.

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