Portsia Smith covers Louisa County crime and news.
Social Services fraud nets six-month term
A mother of four was sentenced to six months in prison yesterday for a scheme she concocted to defraud the Department of Social Services in Louisa County.
Margie Smith, 43, of Fluvanna County, was convicted of larceny, identity theft and welfare fraud in Louisa Circuit Court. All but six months of a nine-year term were suspended.
According to Louisa Commonwealth Attorney Tom Garrett, Smith asked a female friend to baby-sit her children, but explained that they needed to open a joint bank account for the friend to get paid by social services.
Smith assisted the woman in becoming certified to baby-sit and to receive a government subsidy as payment, Garrett said.
Once the woman was approved, Smith told her she no longer needed her baby-sitting services, Garrett said.
Garrett said Smith continued to receive government payments in the baby sitter’s name and deposited the money into the joint account they created.
Over a two-year period, Garrett said, Smith used a debit card to spend the funds in that account.
The baby sitter contacted police when she received a bill from the Internal Revenue Service for failure to pay taxes on income from Social Services.
Garrett said Smith then tricked the baby sitter into signing a confession to the crime by getting two accomplices to dress up in nurse outfits at the baby sitter’s hospital job and had her sign what she thought was a birthday card. One of the accomplices was a notary and notarized the paper, making it appear as a real confession of the babysitter.
Garrett said Smith “showed no remorse for her actions, and her efforts to frame an innocent person are unconscionable. ”
Smith’s attorney put on numerous members from Smith’s church at sentencing to ask for leniency. Smith had no criminal history.
In addition to jail time, Smith must pay $32,074 in restitution to the Department of Social Services.