OKEMAH — A retired high-level DHS official has been accused in a felony charge of illegally allowing a DHS supervisor to get $25,258 in travel pay for driving back and forth from work.
William “Bill” Wilson Jr. was charged Monday in Okfuskee County District Court with presenting false claims against the state. He was an area director in the former field operations division of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services
A former DHS county director, Debra Winn, and the DHS supervisor, Sherry L. Roberts, also were charged Monday with presenting false claims against the state. Roberts resigned from the agency Wednesday morning, records show.
“This was clearly a scheme to circumvent state travel policy to pay Roberts to commute from her home. It is extremely disappointing that DHS staff would be part of an attempt to defraud the state,” DHS spokeswoman Sheree Powell said Wednesday.
Wilson, 67, of Coalgate, could not be reached for comment. He worked at DHS for 35 years, retiring on Jan. 31, 2012, records show. His attorney did not immediately respond to messages left at a law office.
Winn, 53, of Chandler, resigned last October after almost 23 years at DHS. She was the Okfuskee County director. “It's bigger than anyone knows but I'm not going to say anything yet,” Winn said Wednesday.
Roberts, 54, of Weleetka, could not be reached for comment. She had worked at DHS since 1990.
DHS investigator Christopher Comer reported in a court affidavit that the false travel claims were completed between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2011.
Roberts then was a supervisor for adult protective services at the Pottawatomie County DHS office in Shawnee and the Lincoln County DHS office in Chandler.
Roberts is accused of falsely stating on her travel claims that her primary place of work was the Okfuskee County DHS center in Okemah, even though she did not have an office there and did not supervise anyone in that county.
She then was reimbursed for her travel between Okemah and Shawnee, according to the DHS investigator.
Roberts acted under the guidance of Wilson and Winn approved the travel claims, the investigator reported.
Wilson denied wrongdoing during the investigation. He told the investigator he directed Roberts to maintain an office — a place to hang her hat — at the DHS building in Okfuskee County, according to the court affidavit.
“Bill said if she didn't maintain an office it wasn't his fault as he didn't go check up on her to see if she was following the directive,” the investigator reported. “Bill said, ‘If I was her I would have went there every morning and checked my email before going to Shawnee.'”
The DHS spokeswoman said, “The DHS office of inspector general was tipped off to this situation and conducted the internal investigation. The … findings were turned over to the local district attorney. The DA agreed with us about the seriousness of the alleged offenses and filed the felony charges.”