Rutledge resident pleads guilty to welfare fraud

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 21, 2007

Special to The Journal

Attorney General Troy King announced Tuesday the conviction of a Crenshaw County resident for charges of welfare fraud.

Diane Balkcom, 41, of Rutledge, pleaded guilty in Crenshaw County Circuit Court Monday to third-degree theft of property in the amount of $3,379. She was sentenced to one year of imprisonment, which was suspended, and placed on probation for two years. The court further ordered her to pay full restitution to the State of Alabama.

&#8220Accountability in state government begins with being a good steward of taxpayers' funds,” King said. &#8220When people lie to receive welfare benefits to which they are not entitled, they are committing a crime against the state, the taxpaying public, and those who are truly deserving of welfare benefits.”

King thanked the Department of Human Resources for its assistance in preparing information and referring the matter to the Attorney General's Office for review and appropriate action, noting in particular Lisa Syler, director of the Crenshaw County Department of Human Resources, and Angela Hughes, case worker for the Crenshaw County DHR.

&#8220We appreciate the Attorney General's Office prosecuting these cases,” Syler said. &#8220We want applicants to appreciate the importance of giving our agency accurate and truthful information.”

Prosecutions for welfare fraud are pending in 31 other counties.