Michigan Department of Human Services staffer pleads guilty in welfare fraud case

Dawn Simmons convicted of filing false claims in her brother's name

By Halston Herrera - Digital news editor
Headline Goes Here AP

A southeast Michigan woman charged with fraudulently obtaining state financial assistance while she worked at the Department of Human Services has pled guilty to two felonies.

Dawn Simmons, 46, of Belleville, pleaded guilty Friday to one count of false pretenses ($1,000 - $20,000), and one count of fraudulent access to a computer, both five year felonies.

As part of the plea agreement, Simmons is required to pay $19,832.74 in restitution to the state.
The Michigan Attorney General's Office said from September 2009 through February 2012, Simmons abused her position as an eligibility specialist to process false claims for assistance in her brother's name, who she listed as a resident at her home address. Investigation revealed the brother never lived at the address.

Simmons filed the claims on co-workers' computers without their knowledge after logging in with their usernames and passwords. Simmons ultimately collected $19,832.74 in fraudulently obtained benefits, which she used for to pay rent and utilities at her apartment.
Simmons was placed on unpaid leave following the filing of criminal charges on December 12, 2012.
Simmons is scheduled to be sentenced on June 26.

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