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County Worker Accused of Stealing Benefit Cards from 2 Cupertino Residents

A former Social Services Agency employee is charged with misappropriating funds intended for elderly or disabled immigrants.

An arrest warrant has been issued for a former Social Services Agency worker who has been charged with pilfering benefit cards from two Cupertino residents who are part of a program that financially helps elderly and disabled immigrants, officials said.

The worker, Cecilia Jenrick, of Pleasanton is charged with one felony count of

misappropriating money intended for welfare recipients. It’s believed that she siphoned off more than $2,000 from four victims; two from Cupertino, one from Santa Clara and another from Sunnyvale. Three of the four victims are Asian; three of the victims are elderly and one is seriously ill, but it is unclear which are the Cupertino residents.

Jenrick, 49, was a client services employee at the Santa Clara County Social Services Agency who helped people complete applications for welfare benefits.

“Public employees are tasked with helping people,” said Deputy District Attorney Judy Lee, a member of the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit in a statement. “When they take criminal advantage of the most vulnerable among us, this office will hold them strictly accountable.”

Four clients reported between June and August 2011 that their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards—which work similarly to debit cards and can be used at ATMs and stores—were not working.

An investigation by a special unit of the Agency found that Jenrick issued cards to herself.

Three of the victims received the cards through a state-funded program known as Cash Aid Program for Immigrants (CAPI) and the fourth victim was receiving general assistance.

It’s unclear when Jenrick stopped working for the agency, but she is not employed there now. The delay between the time that the cards were not working in 2011 and now, the time of the charge and arrest warrant, are due to elements of the investigation, Lee said.

“There’s a lot of paperwork involved. It took a lot of coordinating the computer technicians who ran all the programs,” she said.

About 57,000 of the more than 250,000 residents who are served by the Agency use EBT cards.

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