More victims sought in CPS ID theft case

April 27, 2010 3:32:28 AM PDT
Investigators are looking for more victims of a CPS worker accused of taking advantage of couples trying to adopt or care for foster children. Dozens of potential foster parents already have become victims of identity theft.

Two years ago when the Robinsons began proceedings to adopt six-year-old Tavoris, they had no way of knowing the personal information they shared with Children's Protective Services would one day be compromised.

"We felt betrayed. I really did," said adoptive mother Leisa Robinson. "I was really hurt, because you wouldn't expect a state agency to leak out that type of information."

As an administrative technician, Andrea Daniels was entrusted with the paperwork provided by families like the Robinsons who want to adopt or foster children. Daniels is accused of stealing personal information from at least 70 applicants including the Robinsons in exchange for gifts and money. Prosecutors say she texted the info to her alleged accomplice, Phillip Moore, who reportedly used it to get fake drivers' licenses.

Assistant Harris County District Attorney Terese Buess explained, "The co-defendant would use those drivers' licenses, with the information that he had, to open up credit card accounts at a variety of stores throughout Houston and actually outside of Houston."

Daniels' attorney says his client is innocent and believes she was taken advantage of by a con man.

"Maybe love, love makes you do crazy things," said attorney Ramon Villagomez. "It's a cliché. It's trite but I see it every day here at the courthouse."

In the meantime, Lesia Robinson is demanding justice, as she continues to watch the family's finances very closely.

She said, "Jail time, prison, restitution, something -- something should be done."

A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services issued the following statement:
"Our workers are entrusted with confidential information on a daily basis, and we consider working with the public trust a privilege. At any time, if we become aware of potential criminal wrongdoing, we respond quickly and take all necessary steps to make sure all of our employees are aware of what is expected from them. We also contact the appropriate authorities immediately. Every individual who deals with us, including those people who are willing to become foster and adoptive parents, needs to know that they can count on us to keep their information safe."

No one answered at Daniels' southwest Houston apartment, but her son's father, Mac Manfoot, was there to defend her.

"She's a really good person," he said, "It''s surprising."

Daniels is charged with fraudulent use and possession of identifiable information.


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