Williamsburg – A former supervisor for the Cabinet for Families and Children in Whitley County could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted on charges that she fraudently obtained $6,000 from a program intended to help low-income families. Janice Terrell, 40, formerly a field services supervisor for the Cabinet's Family Support Office in Williamsburg, was indicted by a Whitley County grand jury earlier this month on four counts of program assistance fraud. In each count, she stands accused of diverting to her own use $1,500 from the family alternatives diversion (FAD) program. Terrell was indicted under a state law that sets varying penalties for various forms of program fraud. Anyone "having responsibility for the administration of an assistance program" who is convicted of program fraud qualifies for that law's harshest penalty - a prison term of from five to 10 years.
Cabinet workers detected evidence of fraud in Terrell's handling of FAD funds last summer, shortly after she transferred from the Williamsburg office to a similar position in Kenton County. She resigned from the cabinet August 5 after she was shown the evidence against her and was told she faced dismissal. Mark Rosen, the cabinet's personnel director, said the cabinet will seek the dismissal of any employee caught committing fraud in a program the agency administers. "We have a zero-tolerance policy," he said. "Every instance that we have discovered has been met with dismissal or resignation."
The cabinet provided its evidence against Terrell to the Kentucky Attorney General's office, which helped Allen C. Trimble, the Whitley county commonwealthy's attorney, obtain the indictment. All four instances of alleged fraud described in the indictment occurred in June. Rosen said that Terrell might also have illegally diverted money from FAD on 14 other occasions. He said the commonwealthy's attorney may file additional criminal charges against her or others who intended to benefit from those fraudulent claims.