March 11, 2019
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Long Island

Former Long Island Group Home Case Manager Sentenced And Pays Restitution For Her Part In Scheme Of Employees And Acquaintances Stealing Food Stamps From The Disabled

Former Long Island Group Home Case Manager Sentenced And Pays Restitution For Her Part In Scheme Of Employees And Acquaintances Stealing Food Stamps From The Disabled
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New York State Acting Welfare Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott today announced the sentencing of a former case manager at a Brentwood residential facility for mentally disabled adults for her part in a scheme among employees and acquaintances to steal welfare benefits belonging to the residents and using those benefits to buy groceries for themselves.

 

Marla Hayes, 31, of Garden City Avenue, Wheatley Heights, a former case manager at the Brentwood residential facility who most recently worked for the nonprofit Federation of Organizations at their Creedmoor Center in Queens, was sentenced in Suffolk County Court to five years of probation, 100 hours of community service and the payment of full restitution in the amount of $1,169. Hayes previously pleaded guilty to Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, a felony, for her role in stealing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP” or food stamps) from residents at the facility where she worked.

 

“This defendant preyed on the vulnerable residents she was meant to be caring for to satisfy her own corrupt greed,” said Acting Welfare Inspector General Leahy Scott. “My office and my law enforcement partners will continue to make clear that such depraved actions will not be tolerated, and anyone who abuses the disabled will be relentlessly pursued.”

 

Hayes was among 12 others, former employees and their acquaintances, charged last June in connection to the alleged scheme in which the SNAP benefits were used by the facility’s employees and others to buy large quantities of king crab legs, steaks, chicken wings, racks of ribs, baby formula and a pallet of Red Bull energy drink cases, among other items, for their own use. Charges against the 12 others remain pending in court.

 

The investigation by Acting Welfare Inspector General Leahy Scott found Hayes and the 12 others stole and/or used the SNAP Electronic Benefits Cards (EBT) belonging to 11 residents at the 50-bed residential facility on the grounds of Pilgrim State Hospital in Brentwood. The residential facility is one of several operated by the nonprofit Federation of Organizations which has numerous locations throughout Long Island and New York City. Some of the stolen residents’ EBT cards, which require a pin code to use, were shared among several of the defendants, and the cards were used at local large grocery stores and wholesale clubs between spring of 2015 and the fall of 2017 for bulk purchases of nearly $8,000 in food products while no significant cooking facilities are available at the group residence itself.

 

The other individuals charged as part of the ongoing investigation include:

• Thomas Oliver, 56, of Charleston, South Carolina, a former rehabilitative associate at the facility, was charged with Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, felonies, and Petit Larceny, a misdemeanor. The charges allege Oliver used a resident’s stolen benefits card to buy hundreds of dollars in food for his own use, predominantly packaged baby-back ribs.

• Sasha Quintanilla, 31, of New Hampshire Avenue, Bayshore, a former case manager for the residence, was charged with two counts each of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, felonies.

• Alejandro Khoury, 30, of Voorhis Drive, Brentwood, a former rehabilitative associate at the residential facility and former boyfriend of Quintanilla, was charged with Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, felonies.

• Alex Coyman, 28, of Woodlawn Avenue, St. James, a former employee of the residential facility, was charged with two counts of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, felonies, and one count of Petit Larceny, a misdemeanor.

• James Newkirk, 31, of South 25th Street, Wyandanch, Huntington, a peer support aide at the residential facility, was charged with three counts each of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, felonies, and Petit Larceny, a misdemeanor.

• Vipul Shah, 50, of Headline Road, Deer Park, owner of the S & V Convenience Store in Smithtown, was charged with Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, felonies.

• Candice Collins, 35, of Davidson Street, Wyandanch, was charged with two counts each of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, felonies, and one count of Petit Larceny, a misdemeanor.

• Stacia Smith, 47, of Parkdale Drive, North Babylon, was charged with Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, felonies, and Petit Larceny, a misdemeanor.

• Takemma Dukes, 36, of 23rd St., Wyandanch, was charged with Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, felonies, and Petit Larceny, a misdemeanor.

• Vanessa Wilson (Also known as Vanessa Oliver), 59, of 23rd St., Wyandanch, was charged with two counts each of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, felonies, and one count of Petit Larceny, a misdemeanor.

• Kareem Clark, 39, of Maple Lane, Medford, was charged with Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, and Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, felonies.

• Ebony Hicks, 42, of Cherry Street, Central Islip, was charged with Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, felonies.

 

Acting Welfare Inspector General Leahy Scott thanked Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini and his office for their assistance with the arrests and for prosecuting this case.

 

All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.

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