Oklahoma Judge, Husband Accused Of Scamming DHS Over Foster Care Reimbursements
Staff and Wire Reports
OKLAHOMA CITY – More than 30 felony counts have been filed against an Oklahoma judge and her husband for allegedly accepting false claims of foster care reimbursements from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
The Oklahoma County District Attorney filed 36 felony counts, including four counts of perjury and 32 counts of fraudulent claims against District Judge Tammy-Bass-Lesure and her husband Karlos Antonio Lesure Sr.
According to the charges filed "Tammy Bass-Lesure knowingly, willfully and feloniously made fraudulent claims for public funds in the form of foster care reimbursement payments against the state of Oklahoma."
According to a probable cause affidavit filed in the case, the LeSures applied in January 2008 to become foster-care providers for the children and to receive payments from the state. The couple adopted the siblings after the children's biological parents terminated their parental rights, the affidavit said.
A woman identified in court documents as the sister of Bass-LeSure's courtroom bailiff told investigators that Bass-LeSure gave her the children and that she has had physical custody of the toddlers since they were placed with the couple.
The woman told investigators that besides payments to day-care providers by the Department of Human Services, she has received no compensation or financial assistance for the care of the children.
The alleged scheme took place from February 2008 to April 2010. The monthly payments the Lesures received from DHS were $730.00 with a total amount of $19,000.
According to the affidavit filed by the district attorney's chief investigator, information about the children came to light when the woman who said she was the children's parents became a suspect in an arson probe.
The affidavit also said Bass-LeSure received monthly adoption subsidies from the state, amounting to more than $3,000 from May through September. The payments were distributed through a debit card account. "A review of the records shows no apparent connection between the types of purchases made via the account and the care and/or financial support of adopted children," the chief investigator wrote in the affidavit.
Judge Bass-Lesure has been serving in Oklahoma County for almost 12 years.
When News 9 tried to contact Bass-Lesure, she refused to comment.
Judge Tammy Bass-LeSure recused herself from pharmacist Jerome Ersland's murder trial after the district attorney asked her to do so in September 2010. She also recused herself from the Ama drug case and it was assigned to another district judge.