The Washington Post reports that a former D.C. government employee has pled guilty to attempting to steal $400,000 from federally backed food stamp benefits intended for city residents.
According to the Post, Gary T. Holliday was "was a policy analyst at DHS, where he worked in a part of the agency that reviewed applications for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — commonly known as food stamps — and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)."
A press release issued by the Justice Department says that "Holliday’s job responsibilities at DHS included representing the agency at 'fair hearings' that involved disputes between DHS and its clients about eligibility and benefits. In cases where the agency lost the hearing, Holliday was responsible for creating a memorandum summarizing the conclusions of the hearing and directing another employee at DHS to calculate and pay whatever underpayments' the client was owed. "
While on the job during 2017, Holliday figured out a way to steal money via the two programs' electronic benefits program. Holliday created a fake account in order to obtain an electronic card and ordered hundreds of thousands of dollars to that account. In total, Holliday completed 400 fraudulent transactions, shifting money intended for the public to his phony personal account.
D.C. Department of Human Services spokeswoman Dora Taylor-Lowe told the newspaper "that the agency had 'discovered irregularities' in welfare payments and reported them to the D.C. inspector general’s office. She praised law enforcement officials for pursuing their investigation."
“The unconscionable actions of this (former) public servant violated the trust of the residents we serve,” Taylor-Lowe added. “Stealing from programs built to assist our community’s most vulnerable children and their families deserve swift and aggressive justice.”
The Post's Peter Jamison reports that "Under federal sentencing guidelines, Holliday could face up to 41 months in prison, though his plea agreement could reduce that penalty. He is scheduled to be sentenced in June."