DSS employees stole gift cards, trashed thousands in resources

Posted at 6:00 PM, Dec 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-13 19:47:04-05

RICHMOND,Va. (WTVR)--A new report uncovers more problems for Richmond’s Department of Social Services.

CBS has been investigating the agency since November of 2012. Our investigation first uncovered children that were left in abusive homes to keep foster care numbers low. [All CBS 6 investigative reports on DSS can be found here.]

Now new allegations have developed this time involving theft and even workers throwing away thousands of dollars of items meant to help families in need.

A city social service employee admitted to stealing gift cards intended to help families in need, over a five month period, until a whistleblower brought attention to the crime.

A tip into the city’s Waste, Fraud and Abuse hotline alerted investigators and led them to the DSS. The caller complained about one of the department’s administrative support specialists, who stole nearly a dozen Wal-mart gift cards worth $1,600 dollars from a safe at the agency’s E. Marshall location.

Investiagators told CBS 6 that the employee bought personal items like diapers, DVDs, groceries and even a car seat from the Wal-mart where she lives in Newport News.

According to court documents, Monica Davis pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement before a judge this week. She received a two-year suspended sentence for the crime and has to pay back the department for the theft.

Davis has paid back approximately $600, according to documents.

A Richmond employee, in another case dating back to June 2012, was accused of dumping military cots into a city landfill off of Hopkins Road, valued at $15,000.

That happened when employees were removing supplies like blankets from a storage unit, allegedly because they were mildewed. Investigators said that the cots were not mildewed.

There is no word yet if Davis will maintain her job at the city. CBS 6 is waiting to hear back from the city administration. This is not the first time that gift cards have been stolen either.