Saturday, February 14, 2009

Adults conspire to steal thousands intended for care of foster children

Foster-care scam grows by $155G
Zambito, Thomas. New York Daily News, Feb. 11, 2009.

Three women took $155,000 in city funds to care for foster kids they never saw, federal prosecutors said Wednesday as their probe into sham adoption subsidies widened.

Mother and daughter Oletha Rhodes and Tammy Moore took $100,000 in welfare subsidies, Manhattan federal prosecutors said.

The money was funneled their way by Nigel Osarenkhoe, a former adoptions supervisor for the city's Administration for Children's Services, prosecutors say.

Rhodes works as a lunchroom aide at Queens Vocational High School and Moore is a seasonal employee for the city's Housing Authority who used to work at ACS.

Also charged was Brenda Towe, a relative of a dead ACS employee, who's accused of accepting $55,000 in bogus subsidies.

Of the three, only Rhodes cared for foster kids, and she took more money than she was entitled to, prosecutors said.

In exchange for kickbacks, Osarenkhoe doled out $578,000 in adoption subsidies to numerous individuals by claiming they needed the cash to care for hard-to-place foster kids, prosecutors say.

Also yesterday, accused co-conspirator Philbert Gorrick, 54, pleaded guilty to accepting $375,000 in illegal payments from former ACS official Lethem Duncan.

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