Sunday, October 9, 2011

Florida Department Of Children And Families 2 More Outstanding Employees

2 DCF employees and third woman charged with stealing $20,000 from Palm Beach dementia patient

Alexis White

Alexis White — Two women employed by the state to protect a vulnerable elderly woman instead preyed on her, stealing about $20,000 from her bank accounts while she was hospitalized for dementia, police said Wednesday.
Both women were adult protective investigators with the Florida Department of Children and Families. One went so far as to wait in 85-year-old Jane Janssen's Cocoanut Row apartment and pose as Janssen if the banks called to verify transactions, according to arrest affidavits made public Wednesday.
After investigating, Palm Beach Police Detective Nicholas Caristo arrested Mindi Marie Berry, 33, her DCF supervisor, Greta Laverne Lambert, 41, and a third woman, an employee of an escort service who told police she was hired to cash stolen checks.
Police on Wednesday were getting a warrant to arrest a fourth woman in the alleged scheme, which came to light after Janssen's son, Christopher Janssen, complained last month. That woman wasn't affiliated with DCF, police said. Berry and Lambert were fired in November after DCF learned of the police investigation, an agency spokesman said.
Adult protective investigators are responsible for looking out for some of Palm Beach County's most vulnerable residents, grown men and women who, for reasons of illness or developmental disability, couldn't take care of themselves. Investigators typically handle complaints of abuse or neglect but also often probe claims of financial exploitation.
"That's exactly what we would be called out to investigate," DCF spokesman Mark Riordan said of the allegations against Berry and Lambert. "It makes the crimes that they've been accused of particularly heinous."
Mindi BerryDCF officials last month began reviewing each case Berry and Lambert worked on, a process that nearly is complete, Riordan said.
Berry had been working for DCF for less than a year when she was assigned to Janssen, Riordan said. Police said Berry noticed checks and bank letters scattered around Janssen's apartment and stole them at Lambert's and others' urging.
Described in police records as the scheme's "mastermind," Lambert worked for DCF for several years and had risen to the rank of supervisor.
Berry was taken into custody in November, soon after Christopher Janssen's complaint. After a month-long investigation, Caristo arrested Lambert and Alexis White, 19.
The women face charges of organizing a scheme to defraud, grand theft from an elderly person, credit card fraud and identity theft. Their attorneys couldn't be reached for comment.
A fourth woman remained on the loose Wednesday, police said.

Staff writer Eliot Kleinberg contributed to this story.                                              
This may sound like a crazy case of fiction, but I am afraid that this is happening to families all over the United States.
This occurred in Florida  but if you look at other city's such as Jacksonville, Florida or Chattanooga ,Tennessee or even your home town you will find horror stories everywhere and not just one or two but hundreds. It is time to stand up to our state governments and tell them our children are not a commodity, parents have rights, and we as Americans have Constitutional Rights. Ignorance is no excuse.

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