For Immediate Release - September 28, 2010

Former Case Manager for State Welfare Program Indicted in Connection with Accepting Bribes

BOSTON - A former case manager for a state welfare program commonly known as the "food stamp" program has been indicted for allegedly soliciting and receiving bribes in return for approving expedited benefits, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office announced today.

A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Valerie Herron, age 50, of Roxbury, on the charge of Receipt and/or Solicitation of a Bribe (9 counts).

"We allege that Ms. Herron used her position for personal financial gain by soliciting applicants to pay her a fee, so that they would be eligible for benefits intended for those who are struggling to put food on the table and trying to find a way to make ends meet," AG Coakley said.

The matter was referred to the AG's Office in February 2010 after Herron's alleged activities had been initially investigated by the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA). Herron worked in the Dudley Square Office of the DTA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously known as and commonly referred to as "food stamps." As a case manager for SNAP, Herron was in charge of helping low-income families pay for food through cash benefits administered through the program. In cases of extreme financial need, SNAP administered "expedited," or emergency benefits to eligible families. The DTA began their investigation after receiving anonymous tips alleging that Herron would tell consumers applying for SNAP benefits that she could expedite the application process for a fee. Authorities allege that on various dates between March 2009 through July 2009, Herron accepted several bribes from applicants in return for expedited benefits, while denying expedited benefits to an applicant who refused to pay a bribe.

A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Herron yesterday. She is scheduled to be arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on October 14, 2010.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Michael Pine and was investigated by Financial Investigator Taylor Glynn, both of AG Coakley's Corruption and Fraud Division with assistance provided by Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG's Office.