Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Stumbo Announces More Welfare Fraud Indictments

Press Release Date:  Monday, May 08, 2006  
Contact Information:  Vicki Glass, 502-696-5643 Office  

Attorney General Greg Stumbo announced today that two more state employees have been indicted by a Franklin County Special Grand Jury on a total of 45 felony charges of Assistance Program Fraud. Since the Special Grand Jury began hearing evidence in the welfare fraud case in March, ten individuals have been indicted on a total of 136 felony counts.  These cases account for approximately $145,000 stolen from the state welfare system.

“This Special Grand Jury is working diligently to ensure that employees of the state welfare system are held responsible for abuses of their job duties and taxpayer dollars,” Stumbo said.

Michelle Howard, age 34, a former Child Care Assistance worker in Harlan County, was indicted today on charges that she fraudulently deleted information from a computer in an attempt to misappropriate Child Care Benefits.

Shirl Gresham, age 51, of Louisville, was also indicted today on charges that she misappropriated the EBT or Food Stamp card belonging to her deceased mother and ran up more than $1,700 in charges during a 12 month period before the Cabinet for Health and Family Services knew her mother had died.

The following have also been indicted:

  • LaTannya Turner, a state employee from Jeffersonville, Indiana – indicted on March 21, 2006 and charged with defrauding the welfare system of over $37,000 from 2002 through 2005.
  • Marion Cornelius, a former state worker from Louisville and her daughter, Devin Cornelius Steadmon – indicted on March 23, 2006.  They face a total of 15 felony charges alleging that they misappropriated $45,000 from 2002 through 2005.
  • Sharlene Pitts, a state employee from Nicholasville – indicted on March 23, 2006 for allegedly using a food stamp card turned in by a welfare client.  The former worker is charged with using the card on 16 different occasions at several locations throughout central Kentucky.  The unauthorized use resulted in a loss of $1,300 to the state.
  • Miguel Castro and Sylvia Tooley – welfare caseworker supervisors - indicted on March 23, 2006 and each charged with one count of fraud.  They are alleged to have defrauded the welfare program of more than $41,000.
  • Leslie Cook, a former state welfare caseworker from Princeton – indicted on March 23, 2006 and charged with one count of welfare fraud.  She allegedly obtained Medicaid benefits for her daughter by falsely claiming that the child lived with her grandmother.
  • Lydia H. Johnson, a former social worker – indicted April 20, 2006 and charged with 30 felony counts of welfare fraud alleging she misappropriated more than $1,500 in state welfare benefits and one felony charge of first degree perjury.

The charges stem from ongoing investigations being conducted by the Attorney General’s Kentucky Bureau of Investigation into problems associated with the administration of the state’s welfare system.

The Special Grand Jury continues its work on Wednesday, May 10, 2006.