3 Indicted in Welfare Scheme

EDINBURG, TEXAS (KRGV) - An Hidalgo County grand jury returned indictments against three former case workers with the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.

Irene Hernandez, Ester Sanchez and Joleen Garcia were indicted on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity and theft of property by public servant.

Investigators say the alleged scheme started in 2005 at an Edinburg office where the women worked.

The former case workers allegedly omitted or altered information in order for applicants to qualify for food stamps. In return, they'd receive kickbacks - up to $1,500 per client.

When money was short, the recipients allegedly paid them with their food stamp benefits.

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