For release on October 29, 2012

CONTACT:
Judy Lee, Deputy District Attorney
Public Integrity Unit
(408) 792-2798

FORMER COUNTY EMPLOYEE DIVERTED WELFARE FUNDS FROM ELDERLY

A former Santa Clara County Social Services Agency worker has been charged with one felony count of misappropriating money intended for welfare recipients.

Cecilia Jenrick, of Pleasanton, is suspected to have siphoned more than $2,000 from the accounts of four victims, three elderly immigrants and one seriously ill person.

The 49-year-old former client services technician at the Santa Clara County Social Services Agency could face up to four years imprisonment, if convicted. An arrest warrant has been issued.

“Public employees are tasked with helping people,” said Deputy District Attorney Judy Lee, a member of the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit. “When they take criminal advantage of the most vulnerable among us, this Office will hold them strictly accountable.”

Jenrick was previously employed by the county to help the public complete applications for welfare benefits. Between June and August 2011, four clients reported that their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards were not working. EBT cards are essentially debit cards that can be used at ATMs and stores. The Social Services Agency launched an inquiry.

An investigation by the Special Investigations Unit of the Social Services Agency showed that Jenrick used her position to issue cards to herself, activate them and withdraw the funds.

Three of the victims received government aid from the state-funded program known as Cash Aid Program for Immigrants (CAPI.) This program provides financial aid to elderly or disabled immigrants. A fourth victim was receiving general assistance. The Santa Clara County Social Services Agency serves more than 250,000 residents. About 57,000 use EBT.

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