contributing writer Kelly Bell
Last December Grand Prairie resident Evetta Galloway Griffin pled guilty in the Northern District Court of Texas to charges of theft and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds. On 8 June, she was ordered to repay $129,196 as restitution and to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on 6 September 2017. The case came into being when the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) received a notice from Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas that their contractor, the Child Care Group (CCG,) suspected one of its employees was embezzling federal funds. A joint investigation by the TWC, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (HHS/OIG) and the Office of the United States Attorneys resulted in the arrest and indictment.
“The Texas Workforce Commission is committed to the integrity of the subsidized child care program,” said TWC Chair Andres Alcantar. “It remains our priority to protect those benefits to serve eligible Texans and their children, which will enable these parents to work or attend workforce training activities.”
Court documents indicate Griffin was Director of Facilities and Administration for the Child Care Group (CCG) until March of 2015. The CCG works as a non-profit receiving federal funds to provide such educational services as Head Start for children from low-income families in and around Dallas. Griffin used her position to steal government funds and falsely bill the CCG for non-existent printing services. The U.S. Attorney’s Office reports that from April 2011 to January 2015 Griffin submitted about 100 fraudulent invoices to the CCG, garnering $115,000 from the massive scam.
“TWC remains vigilant in detecting and eliminating fraud so that the services and programs can fulfill their intended purpose of assisting eligible Texans,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers, Ruth R. Hughs. “We will continue to vigorously pursue anyone who threatens the integrity of the program.”
The TWC closely collaborates with local workforce development board partners to guard against child care fraud. This is how Griffin’s theft and fraud were detected. After the evidence indicated the scheme the TWC contacted the HHS/OIG, which then commenced legal action.
“TWC is steadfast in its efforts to detect and prosecute fraudulent activity in our programs,” said Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “Protecting services benefitting employers and workers in Texas is a priority.”
The TWC Regulatory Integrity Division (RID) is specifically responsible for sniffing out and preventing fraud. waste and abuse. The RID enforces all regulatory statues within the agency’s jurisdiction. This includes such TWC programs as Tax, Workforce, Trade Act, Skills Development Fund, Self-Sufficiency Fund, Child Care Development Fund and all other TWC-administered programs.
For examples of reportable violations and/or to report suspected fraud please call the TWC Fraud and Program Abuse Hotline at (800) 252-3642 or visit the TWC website at Reporting Fraud in Programs.