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February 8, 2013

Nassau DSS Caseworker Arrested for Stealing Food Stamp Benefits Card

Castor used the card to buy himself more than $300 worth of food

MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced the arrest of a Nassau County Department of Social Services (DSS) employee for stealing food stamp benefits from a DSS client and using them for himself.Wesley Castor

Wesley Castor, 37, of Hempstead, was arrested by DA Investigators this morning and charged with Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree and misdemeanor Official Misconduct. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted. Castor was released on his own recognizance earlier today and is due back in court March 19.

Rice said that on July 27, 2009, Castor, while working as a DSS caseworker, was advised by a DSS client that her food stamp benefits were missing from her benefit card.Castor then requested that a temporary card be issued in the name of the DSS client, signed for the card, and posted $367.00 in food stamp benefits to the card.Later that day, Castor, accompanied by a female DSS employee, used the card at Compare Foods in Freeport to purchase groceries for himself. The transaction was recorded by the store’s video system.The female DSS employee has not been charged, but remains under investigation.

When the DSS client checked her food stamp balance the next day, less than $30 remained on her card.She reported the missing benefits to DSS, an investigation followed and DSS referred the case to the District Attorney’s office.

“This defendant was employed by the Department of Social Services to help those in need, but instead he stole food assistance benefits from woman in need and scammed the taxpayers,” said Rice. “Food stamps provide life-sustaining nutritional assistance to low-income families, seniors, and the disabled, and it is outrageous that this defendant kept those benefits for himself.This arrest sends a clear message to those who may think about trying to cheat the public — you will be caught and held accountable.I want to thank Commissioner John Imhof and the Department of Social Services for their assistance with this investigation.”

“I commend District Attorney Rice for her diligence as well as the good work of the DSS Investigations Unit I formed to crackdown on waste, fraud and abuse of our tax dollars,” said County Executive Edward Mangano. “It is unconscionable that those entrusted with the welfare of our most needy would compromise their position for personal gain. I also want to acknowledge thatthe acts of one individual do not reflect the hard work and dedication of our DSS workforce.”

Public Assistance Fraud Unit Chief Christine Burke is prosecuting the case for the DA’s Office.Castor is represented by Eric Pack, Esq. The DA’s Office thanks the former Nassau County Office of Investigations and the Nassau County Department of Social Services for their assistance with the investigation.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.