Former state worker accused of swindling more than $150K
OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A former state worker is accused of using state databases to steal unclaimed cash from more than 20 victims.
The State Attorney General's Office reports the employee used sensitive information he accessed through his job with the Department of Social and Health Services.
The state's windfall website, claimyourcash.org, is at the center of this case. Court records indicate 43-year-old Timothy Fultz had worked at DSHS since 2004 and used his position of trust to access several confidential databases that could produce a treasure-trove of personal information.
"He was able to get their full legal name, address, date of birth," said Washington State Patrol Lt. Shane Nelson with the Criminal Investigative Division. He adds Fultz was even able to get, "in some instances their social security number."
Nelson said Fultz used that information to build profiles and get at unclaimed money -- more than $150,000. Most of the victims are listed as elderly, disabled or in need of hospice care.
"Most people don't know that money is sitting there just waiting to be claimed," Nelson said.
We reached one victim by phone. She asked us not to use her name, but in her case Fultz is accused of stealing more than $5,000 in insurance money from her dead son. She said both she and her husband have been in and out of the hospital the past two years.
"Heart-breaking," she said. "I could use that money to pay the hospital."
We tried to reach Fultz at his Renton home with no luck. His attorney won't discuss the case but did tell us the prosecutor has his facts all wrong.
According to court records, Fultz has a criminal history. He was convicted in 1989 in King County for possession of stolen property and in 1992 in Idaho for burglary.
On Thursday afternoon, DSHS said that Fultz wasn't required to go through a criminal background check because he didn't have contact with vulnerable clients. They did not mention his access to confidential databases. Fultz resigned from the Department last November.
Fultz has a June 11 court date, where he'll enter pleas to 29 charges of theft, identity theft, money laundering and computer trespass.