Ex-ACS Workers Arrested for Falsifying Abused Children's Records, City Says
By Joe Parziale on December 13, 2012 2:40pm
NEW YORK — Two former child protection specialists from the city's Administration for Children’s Services were arrested Wednesday on charges they submitted false information to the agency about people with records of abuse and neglect, the city Department of Investigation announced.
Lola Whidbee, 46, and Rosana Caceda, 42, both of The Bronx, are accused of entering false information into a state-run computer database that investigates neglect and abuse cases.
According to the criminal complaint, Whidbee allegedly entered a log into the database, known as CONNECTIONS, claiming that she spoke by phone to a man about an ongoing Administration of Children’s Services case in October 2011. The Department of Investigation found that the man, Patrick Carter, never received phone calls from Whidbee and did not recognize Whidbee’s name or number when the Department of Investigation presented it to him.
In September 2008, Caceda allegedly plugged into CONNECTIONS that she visited the home of a mother and child and spoke with the mother, according to the criminal complaint. But the investigation found that the mother was incarcerated at the time.
The complaint also alleges that Caceda logged hours that she never worked and collected more than $600 in wages from bogus timekeeping.
“These former city child case workers misrepresented important steps during child welfare investigations, undermining the official record,” Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said in a statement. “The city has no tolerance for city employees, especially child protective specialists, who disregard their duty and the truth.”
Caceda was fired in March 2009, and Whidbee was cut loose in May 2012, said Diane Struzzi, a spokeswoman for the Department of Investigation.
A source said the two were fired after the Administration for Children’s Services found out about their falsifications.
Whidbee has been charged with offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree and falsifying business records in the first degree — both class E felonies — and offering a false instrument for filing in the second degree and falsifying business records in the second degree, which are class A misdemeanors.
Caceda has been charged with two counts each of falsifying business records in the second degree, official misconduct and offering a false instrument for filing in the second degree, and one count of petit larceny, all class A misdemeanors.
Both women were arraigned Wednesday and released on their own recognizance. Whidbee is due back in court Feb. 4. Caceda is due back in court Feb. 19.