A former financial tech with the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay $156,728.71 in restitution.
Janice Mann-Wilson conspired to steal government funds and misused social security numbers, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle.
The report said the 33-year-old Kent woman collaborated with others to submit false information to DSHS to get thousands of dollars in payments for child care services that were never provided.
According to records, she worked as a financial services specialist at the Ballard Community Service office of DSHS from 2006 until she was fired in January 2008.
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In May 2007, she started to embezzle federal funds from the "Working Connections Child Care Program." She trained a co-worker in the scheme, and recruited her friends and relatives, according to the release.
She would enter false information into the database in order to get the checks for child care. In some instances, she used the social security numbers of children living out of state, or used fake social security numbers or created fictitious children.
She had many of the checks mailed to her sister’s home and then distributed them to the co-conspirators. They would give her a share of the money. Sometimes, they claimed the child was receiving “special needs’ care to increase the payment rate. One conspirator was paid nearly $49,000 for care to non-existent children.
The scheme unraveled when an anonymous letter was sent to DSHS after a disagreement between the co-conspirators.
In asking for a significant sentence, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Johanna Vanderlee noted that Mann-Wilson was the ringleader of the conspiracy. "The public has a stake in knowing that government employees are not abusing their positions of trust and in knowing that public benefits intended for low-income, working families, are properly used. Defendant recruited relatives, friends, and a colleague into her lucrative conspiracy," the prosecutor wrote in her sentencing memo.