Firing, Resignation In Human Services Gift Card Theft

Written by Brian Maass
DENVER (CBS4) – Denver’s Human Services Department has fired one employee and a second worker quit last Friday in an investigation into stolen gift cards.

A CBS4 Investigation last month revealed that someone swiped more than a dozen gift cards that arrived at Human Services main office at 1200 Federal Blvd. just before Christmas. The cards — for stores like Target and Wal-Mart — were supposed to be handed out to needy seniors. They were valued at about $750.

But the Human Services Department says it won’t pursue criminal charges against either worker.

“We felt like termination would be sufficient for the infraction,” said Revekka Balancier, a spokesperson for the Department. “It was a crime of opportunity and truly bad judgment. Termination was punishment enough.”

Balancier says both female workers were “advocates” who worked in the Family Enrichment Center. Their names were not immediately released. She says while one was fired Friday, the other quit before she could be fired. Balancier says no other employees are suspected of being involved in the theft.

The department spokesperson says one employee stole the cards then shared them with the second employee. Video from at least one retailer showed the worker cashing in the gift cards.

Employees of a Denver law firm, Faegre-Benson, had donated the gift cards in December. In turn the Human Services Department was supposed to distribute the cards as Christmas gifts for elderly men and women in need. But shortly after the cards arrived, they disappeared.

The Department of Human Services says another donor was found before Christmas who agreed to pay to replace the stolen gift cards, so seniors who asked for them still received them for the holidays.

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