Prosecutors Say This DHS Worker Stole More Than 11,000 SEPTA Tokens
This is Shamira Hawkins-Worthey. She’s worked for the city’s Department of Human Services for nearly eight years. And now she’s in trouble.
Prosecutors announced Monday they’re bringing 1,576 counts of theft, forgery and more against Hawkins-Worthey. Why? Because (they say) one of her job responsibilities was to help clients obtain SEPTA tokens so they could go to court hearings, medical appointments, and other “official events” despite poverty and an inability to pay SEPTA fare on their own.
District Attorney Seth Williams says Hawkins-Worthey instead filled out a number of requests for tokens in DHS cases that were already inactive or closed. She caught the attention of authorities when she requested 300 tokens over two days.
“The Inspector General’s Office then conducted an audit of SEPTA token requests made by Hawkins-Worthey, and it was discovered that for nine months beginning January in 2013 she submitted 640 requests and received 11,474 tokens totaling $17,784.20,” prosecutors said in a press release. “Of those requests, 366 contained supervisor signatures that were confirmed as forgeries.”
During the investigation, prosecutors say, Hawkins-Worthey was reassigned to an administrative position and instructed not to work overtime. She nonetheless submitted invoices for $6,372 worth of overtime — prosecutors say she forged supervisors’ signatures to get approval for the money. Time-swipe card records indicate she was not working at the office during the hours submitted.
Between the tokens and the overtime, prosecutors say, Hawkins-Worthey cost DHS a total of $24,156.54.
“I have no words for the actions of this person,” Williams said in the press release. “Instead of helping some of the most vulnerable people in our city, she chose to use her position with DHS to line her own pockets. It’s sad and very, very wrong.
Hawkins-Worthey turned herself in to police this morning, officials said.