A 30-year-old former Prince George's County employe has pleaded guilty to charges that, while processing food stamp applications, she faked welfare records and applications to obtain, illegally more than $31,000 worth of food stamps.
Brenda Joyce Dobbins, a case-worker in the county Department of Social Services from January 1975 until January 1977, entered a guilty plea in Circuit Court Monday on one count of welfare fraud.
Dobbins who will be sentenced Aug. 25, faces a maximum penalty of three years in jail and a $1,000 fine. She also may be asked to return the missing funds, according to Assistant State's Attorney William Shockley.
Shockley said that Dobbin's job with the county included conducting interviews and authorizing distribution of food stamps for persons not eligible for public assistance. Dobbins lived in Prince George's when she worked for the county, but has since moved to Southwest Washington, according to her attorney, Richard Palumbro.
Dobbins obtained food stamps for herself by compiling files of fictional applicants with false addresses, Shockley said. Dobbins would then draw up office file authorization forms and green food stamp identification cards with matching registration numbers.
Then she would ask friends or fellow-office workers to use the cards to obtain purchase cards for food stamps, Shockley said.
Shockley said the social service officials were initially tipped to the fraud when Dobbins drew up an authorization form and green card for a fictional man, and gave him two different last names.
In December 1976, Shockley said, a man claiming to be Larry Porter arrived at the social services department's Camp Springs office to pick up a food stamp authorization check, only to discover that he was listed as Larry Peters in office records.
The following day, the man returned to the office to insist that he was Larry Porter. What worried officials. Shockley said, was that Dobbins had called earlier and said the correct name was not Porter, but Peters. Dobbins had apparently drawn up the office file and green identification card under different names, then switched signals with her accomplice, Shockley said.
Dobbins was finally arrested when a Northeast woman, Velma Calloway of 821 Florida Ave., attempted to obtain a food stamp authorization under the name Velma Woods, with a Prince George's address, Shockely said.
Subsequently, food stamp records compiled by Dobbins during December 1976 were studied, and 17 cases - out of 35 authorized by Dobbins - were found to be based on fictional names or false addresses, Shockley said. At least $31,000 in food stamps had been obtained in these cases, he added.