Sabrina Walker was a 37 year old school counselor who accidentally received a check for $2.5 million and instead of informing the Department of Human Services, who was responsible for sending out the check, she began to spend the money on everything from cars, to jewelry to electronics. She was charged with theft by swindle and concealing the proceeds of a crime and is held in jail in lieu of a $200,000 bail. The check was actually meant to be for the Hennepin County Medical Center which was mistakingly sent to Walker. Walker was in the State system due to an $84 pay that she received for being a court witness. The money Walker received wasnt well spent. According to MSNBC the money was generously spent:
Walker, along with a man she lived with, allegedly bought a $500,000 certificate of deposit, funded two retirement accounts, bought a $500,000 Treasury bond, spent $5,500 on jewelry, $3,817 at Best Buy and $2,069 on limousine services, according to the criminal complaint.
Walker also allegedly bought two cars, called the state to report the check, then bought two more cars, prosecutors said.
Obviously, Walker is placed on leave from the school counseling job and the state agency wishes to improve manual payment methods to avoid such mistakes in the future. Additionally, Walkers bank accounts have been frozen to prevent further use of state money. I think its a little disturbing to find out such mistakes happen and although usually these mistakes come out in time, there may have been instances where things like this might have gone unnoticed. Its a little disappointing but then again, I would have thought that the state agencies would actually have computerized databases through which payments were sent out as needed to the respective individuals or organizations. Either way, this issue coming into the public vision is an eye opener and hopefully should help in keeping a closer eye on the manual payment distribution methods.