TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a former senior payroll clerk for the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS) pleaded guilty today to using her work computer to generate false insurance cards for herself and others. She also admitted that she stole public assistance benefits by creating false documents to claim childcare expenses.
Laquanda Tate, 39, of Trenton, pleaded guilty today to third-degree charges of simulating a motor vehicle insurance identification card and theft by deception before Superior Court Judge Timothy P. Lydon in Mercer County. The charges were contained in a May 4, 2015 indictment. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Tate be sentenced to 364 days in the county jail and 30 hours of community service as conditions of a term of probation. She must pay full restitution of the public assistance benefits she received and will be permanently barred from public employment. Judge Lydon scheduled sentencing for Tate for Dec. 18.
Deputy Attorney General Jonathan Gilmore took the guilty plea from Tate for the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau. The charges resulted from an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice and the Department of Human Services (DHS). Tate was terminated from her state job in April 2013 after the alleged conduct was uncovered.
That state’s investigation revealed that between April 2009 and December 2012, Tate used her DHS computer to generate false insurance identification cards for her personal use and for sale to three other people. In a separate scheme, Tate created false notarized letters that purportedly were signed by childcare providers which she used to claim that she incurred unreimbursed childcare expenses of $8,677 from 2010 to 2012. By including those expenses in applications to the Mercer County Board of Social Services for food stamps, Tate allegedly received $3,635 in benefits to which she was not entitled. She also allegedly claimed such false expenses in applications to the State Department of Community Affairs for Section 8 rental assistance, thereby receiving more than $1,000 in added housing benefits to which she was not entitled.
Deputy Attorneys General Jonathan Gilmore and Peter W. Lee, Deputy Bureau Chief, presented the case to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau. The investigation was conducted for the Division of Criminal Justice by Detective Thomas Page. Deputy Attorney General Victor R. Salgado assisted in the investigation. DHS Police Detectives Alex Rivera and Carlos Ramirez investigated for the Department of Human Services.