Sheila McLaughlin reports:
A supervisor who stole thousands of dollars from the Warren County Department of Human Services and illegally approved food stamps for acquaintances will spend the next four years in prison.
Rebecca L. Green, who was charged using the surname Butcher, pleaded guilty Thursday to three felony counts of theft in office and two felony charges of tampering with records. In exchange for the plea, 15 charges were dismissed. She faced a maximum 45 years in prison if convicted of all charges.
Judge Robert Peeler, of Warren County Common Pleas Court, sentenced Green immediately and ordered her to pay $146,300 in restitution.
“Without question, the overwhelming majority of public employees are honest, hardworking professionals who are dedicated to performing the services entrusted to them by the public,” said Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell. “Unfortunately, Ms. Butcher broke that trust, and in the process damaged the reputations of her co-workers, the Department of Human Services, and Warren County government itself.”
The 51-year-old Turtlecreek Township resident was fired from her job last year after 28 years with the county after a state audit revealed discrepancies.
An investigation by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and United States department of Health and Human Services found that Green stole cash payments made by Medicaid recipients to meet eligibility thresholds, and manipulated recipients’ files to make it appear they were eligible for benefits when they were not. Those individuals received benefits they were not entitled to receive, Fornshell said.
Green was accused of approving $70,694 in Medicaid benefits and $10,135 in food stamps to people who weren’t eligible.
Authorities said she also pocketed $77,045 in payments from clients who were required to pay some money to be eligible for benefits in a process that is otherwise known as spend-down payments.