United States of America v. Vasty Araceli Jimenez
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Case Number: 8:17-cr-00619-VMC-JSS
Court: United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida (Hillborough County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: James A. Muench
Defendant's Attorney: Richard Reinhart
Description: Tampa, FL - Former Social Security Administration Employee Pleads Guitly To Theft Of Government Money
Vasty Araceli Jimenez (32, Ellenton) pleaded guilty on February 13, 2018 to theft of government money. She faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.
According to the plea agreement, between 2011 and 2014, Jimenez applied for child care subsidies for her children through the Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County (“ELC”). The funding for these subsidies was administered by the Office of Early Learning (“OEL”), a component of the Florida Department of Education that administered federal and state child care funds, including federal Child Care and Development Fund dollars, for the state of Florida. OEL funded various local early learning coalitions to assist families who qualified for subsidized daycare services. The subsidies were paid directly to the daycare providers.
During the relevant time period, Jimenez provided the ELC with pay stubs purportedly from her employer, the Social Security Administration. Jimenez, however, had altered the pay stubs to make it appear that her gross pay was less than it actually was. Based on these falsified pay stubs, the ELC determined that she qualified for child care subsidies. In addition, in her applications and re-certification paperwork, she failed to disclose that she was married and that her husband was part of her household, which would have affected the family’s eligibility for child care. Likewise, Jimenez failed to disclose any of her husband’s income in her ELC paperwork. These omissions resulted in Jimenez receiving child care subsidies to which she would not have otherwise been entitled. In total, Jimenez received approximately $48,895. She resigned from her position with the Social Security Administration prior to pleading guilty.
This case was investigated by the United States Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General, the Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Public Assistance Fraud, and the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Patrick Scruggs.