Ore. DHS worker sentenced for food stamp fraud

FILE - The state of Oregon uses reloadable debit-like cards known as "Oregon Trail" cards instead of food stamps. Undated photo. (KOIN 6 News)
FILE - The state of Oregon uses reloadable debit-like cards known as "Oregon Trail" cards instead of food stamps. Undated photo. (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A former Oregon Department of Human Services employee who was convicted of issuing Oregon Trail cards to herself for personal use was sentenced Monday in federal court.

Denise Lachelle Palfrey was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Portland to three years of probation, eight months of home detention and restitution of more than $4,200. In November she plead guilty to one count each of theft of government funds and supplemental nutrition assistance fraud.

The welfare fraud occurred while Palfrey worked at the St. Johns ODHS branch. According to the Department of Justice, in November and December of 2011, Palfrey canceled eight Oregon Trail cards without the knowledge of the cardholders. She then forged their names in a log, and activated each card for herself. She used them at Costco, Safeway and other retailers. She withdrew cash from ATMS using the cards as well.

The case was investigating by ODHS, the USDA and the Office of the Inspector General.

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