For Immediate Release - October 27, 2010

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

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

Valerie Herron, age 50, of Roxbury, was charged with Receipt and/or Solicitation of a Bribe (9 counts).

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 the "food stamp" program. 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 and 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 on September 27, 2010. Today, Herron was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court at which time she entered a plea of not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Herron is due back in Suffolk Superior Court on December 8, 2010, for a pre-trial conference. Clerk Magistrate Gary Wilson presided over the arraignment.

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.