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Ex-DHS employee facing new charge in Tulsa

By The Associated Press Modified: December 3, 2008 at 5:41 am •  Published: December 3, 2008
TULSA -- Prosecutors have accused a former Department of Human Services employee of taking money from an elderly nursing home resident.

Debra Maxine Roberts was charged Monday with financially exploiting vulnerable adults for allegedly taking nearly $4,500 in funds belonging to James True, 84.

Roberts, then a DHS adult protective services specialist, was a temporary guardian for True after a court determined that he lacked the mental capacity to consent to necessary protective services, a court document states.

In her guardian's capacity, Roberts had the authority to use True's finances to pay for his residential care and daily living expenses, according to an investigator's affidavit.

True, listed as a resident at the Frances Streitel Villa in Collinsville, told investigators in October that Roberts "had never given him any cash money" and had "never bought him anything except ice cream," an affidavit states. True "advised he has never given her any money."

Roberts, who began working for DHS in August 2004, was suspended from her duties in June, a document states. She was discharged from the agency after an internal investigation that resulted in some procedural changes, according to Lauri Hanna, DHS' communications manager.

In another case, Roberts, 50, was charged in September with financially exploiting Claude Spencer by converting about $5,900 of his money to her own use. Spencer is identified by prosecutors as a 74-year-old mentally disabled Sand Springs man.

Roberts became a temporary guardian for Spencer, a resident of Oak Dale Manor, in 2007, according to court documents.

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