RICHMOND, Va. – A Richmond woman pleaded guilty yesterday to mail fraud for abusing her authority as a case worker at the Richmond Department of Social Services to divert income and food-related benefits to herself.
According to court documents, De’Nisha Juanita Wilson, 47, was a case worker for the Richmond Department of Social Services, where she assisted with and oversaw needy individuals’ receipt of financial benefits and had access to state and city systems containing beneficiaries’ personal information. In May 2019, one of Wilson’s clients, a young woman who was receiving benefits on behalf of five children, tragically died in a car accident. Following the woman’s death, Wilson accessed the deceased woman’s personal identifying information, caused the issuance of new prepaid benefits cards, and directed those cards to herself. Wilson then used the prepaid benefits cards issued under the deceased woman’s name for her own purposes. In total, Wilson diverted more than $13,000, spending approximately $8,000 on food, entertainment, and other personal expenses. The scheme was halted in January 2020.
Wilson is scheduled to be sentenced on October 18. She faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Stanley M. Meador, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office; and James Osuna, Inspector General, City of Richmond Office of the Inspector General, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney, Jr. accepted the plea.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Elliker is prosecuting the case.