Former DHS Employee, Accomplice Facing Additional Charges in Ongoing TBI Fraud Case

Thursday, May 21, 2015 | 09:59am

NASHVILLE – Special Agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have obtained additional indictments for a former employee of the Tennessee Department of Human Services and her accomplice in an ongoing fraud case involving the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.

At the request of DHS and 15th District Attorney General Tommy Thompson, TBI Special Agents began investigating Tracey Deshaye Timbs on April 11, 2014. During the course of the investigation, Agents developed information revealing a ring of people involved in creating false SNAP benefit accounts and selling them for profit. The investigation further revealed Timbs tampered with government records, created the false accounts, and would then have EBT cards for those accounts sent to an accomplice, Matthew Nichols. Additionally, Timbs would supply identifying information to Nichols from DHS records so he could activate the cards. In turn, the investigation also revealed the two would use the cards for personal benefit or sell them to friends and associates. To date, investigators have identified more than 40 false accounts, representing more than $170,000 in fraudulent benefits. DHS subsequently terminated Timbs’ employment.

On May 11th, the Wilson County Grand Jury returned additional indictments in the case, charging Timbs, 44, of Pleasant Shade, and Nichols, 32, of Watertown with one count each of Theft between $60,000 and $250,000 and Conspiracy to Commit Theft between $60,000 and $250,000. On Wednesday afternoon, both were booked at the Wilson County Jail. Timbs was released after posting $2,500 bond. At the time of this release, Nichols remained in custody of the jail on unrelated charges. The investigation continues, with the possibility of additional subjects and charges in the future.