Woman to be sentenced for DHS fraud case

Katie Lorraine Burns had faced a 47-count indictment

Katie Lorraine Burns shown in a jail booking photo.
Katie Lorraine Burns shown in a jail booking photo.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A 28-year-old woman accused of cheating the state out of nearly $200,000 is expected to be sentenced and ordered to pay back only $75,000 in restitution.

Katie L. Burns is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday by Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Michael A. Greenlick.

In August 2016, a grand jury handed up a 47-count indictment against Burns alleging that she swindled nearly $200,000 from the state Department of Human Services (DHS). The indictment charged Burns with 21 counts of first-degree theft by deception, 16 counts of unlawfully obtaining public assistance, 6 counts of aggravated first-degree theft, and 4 counts of unlawfully using a food stamp benefit.

In May the majority of the charges against Burns were dismissed because of issues with the statute of limitations and a  a plea agreement was reached with the DA’s Office. As part of that agreement, Burns pleaded no contest to three counts of first-degree theft by deception and two counts each of unlawfully obtaining public assistance and unlawfully using a food stamp benefit.

The investigation was conducted by DHS. The agency determined that Burns gave false information to DHS regarding her household and financial information. It is alleged that she filed 16 DHS applications to request benefits using misleading information.

As DHS fraud investigators looked into Burns’ receipt of benefits, they discovered that she was closely associated with a man named Ryan Zimmers.

Zimmers, according to court documents, is part of a large scale network of individuals and two businesses that have been under investigation for racketeering. He pleaded no contest to operating an illegal towing business and guilty to improperly conducting a vehicle dismantling business in June 2015.

A no contest plea means that the accused is not challenging the allegations made against him/her but they are not admitting guilt.