Ramsey County detox worker charged in EBT scam

  • Article by: JOY POWELL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 8, 2013 - 11:57 PM

An employee of the Ramsey County Detox Center is charged with wrongfully obtaining public assistance after he allegedly bought a food-benefits card from a poor man who ate free at shelters, detox center.

An employee of the Ramsey County Detox Center has been charged in connection with buying an EBT card, used for food support, from a low-income man who was staying at the center to detoxify.

The man, identified in a criminal complaint only by the intials N.S.B., told authorities that he would eat free at shelters and the Detox Center at 402 E. University Av. so he could sell his food support "to people working at the Detox Center," according to charges filed Thursday against Calvin P. Fogie, 58, of Brooklyn Park.

As of Friday, Fogie remained a Detox Center employee, though that could change if he's convicted of the charge -- wrongfully obtaining public assistance, officials said.

"N.S.B. did not want to identify which employees had been purchasing his food support, but he did start referring to 'Calvin' as someone who purchased food support from him," states the complaint filed Thursday in Ramsey County District Court.

That information was developed by William Sieben, an investigator for the Ramsey County attorney's Fraud Unit, after authorities learned workers at the Detox Center were allegedly buying the man's food support, which is illegal.

The investigators interviewed the man and checked electronic records for his EBT (electronic benefits transfer) card.

Most transactions in the St. Paul area were between $5 and $10, but there were bigger purchases worth $150 to $200 in the outer metro area, including at a Cub Foods Store in Brooklyn Center. One big purchase was made at 8:38 p.m. on Nov. 18, 2011.

Sieben learned the man had been released from the Detox Center at 1 p.m. that day, when Fogie was working. Sieben obtained surveillance footage showing Fogie and his wife at the supermarket that night, allegedly with the man's card.

"The surveillance footage showed Vickie Lashun Fogie, 55, using N.S.B.'s card and entering his PIN to pay for $200 worth of groceries, and her husband, Calvin P. Fogie, pushing the grocery cart out of the store," the complaint alleges.

Sieben spoke with Fogie at the Detox Center on March 28, 2012. During the interview, the complaint states, Fogie "admitted several times that he had bought $200 worth of food stamps for half price from N.S.B. and that Calvin Fogie knew it was wrong."

Joy Powell • 651-925-5038

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