Woman sentenced for stealing $417,000 in welfare funds

Spent money on computers, cruises and a car

May 24, 2011|By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun

A former social services employee in Baltimore was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday for stealing nearly $417,000 in welfare funds over a 14-month period, the Maryland Attorney General's Office announced.

Joyce Renay Flowers, 41, was also ordered to pay more than $374,000 in restitution and could later be made to serve a suspended prison term of 20 years if she violates probation after her release.

According to prosecutors, Flowers created 17 fake welfare recipients within the Baltimore Department of Social Services computer system, then stole thousands of dollars in cash and food stamps from August 2008 through mid-October 2009, trading the funds for laptops, televisions, furniture, appliances, cruise vacations, a BMW X5 and jewelry.

tricia.bishop@baltsun.com

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