Ex-state worker from Willingboro sentenced for benefits fraud plea
A Willingboro woman who served as a clerk in the New Jersey Department of Children and Families heads to a three-year prison term for collecting more than $82,000 in government aid through doctored employment records.
Tonia Ramaza-Williams, 40, also forfeited her job and agreed to pay the full $82,769 in restitution in exhange for her guilty plea to a second-degree theft charge, according to the office of state Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino.
Williams was the head clerk of the Mercer North Local office of DCF's Division of Child Placement and Permanency.
Invesigators, following a lead fromthe Mercer County Board of Social Services (MCBSS), determined that Ramaza-Williams submitted five fabricated notices of disciplinary action to the Board, under the pretense of originating at DCF, along with six manufactured letters indicating multiple suspensions, demotions and pay cuts, between 2009 and 2013.
Ramaza-Williams allegedly collected $14,998 in benefits through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), benefits worth $16,968 in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, $42,156 from Medicaid, and $8,647 in emergency assistance benefits from MCBSS.
Authorities said that the only suspension they found was in November of 2008, that they found no evidence of salary reductions, and that her pay level, between $40,000 and $50,000 during the period in question, rendered her ineligible for social services benefits.
The defendant's case was led by attorneys Josue Jean Baptiste and Adam Rosengard of Clifton.