Former Richland JFS Employee Pleads Guilty to Improperly Securing Benefits for Boyfriend and his Child

For Immediate Release

Monday, March 27, 2023

COLUMBUS – A former public assistance specialist at Richland County Job and Family Services (JFS) pleaded guilty Monday to three felony counts for using her position to improperly secure benefits for her boyfriend and his child.

Rebecca Shafer is scheduled to be sentenced in May and will have to make restitution of $47,974 after admitting to counts of theft in office, illegal use of food stamps and Medicaid eligibility fraud.

The Auditor of State’s Special Investigations Unit received a complaint in March 2022 from the administrator of Richland County JFS concerning an employee who allegedly used her position as an Eligibility Referral Specialist to improperly secure Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for her boyfriend and his child.

SIU determined Shafer had falsified income information and did not follow proper internal controls, resulting in her boyfriend and the child improperly receiving $39,670 in Medicaid benefits and $8,304 in SNAP benefits between November 2018 and April 2021.

Shafer resigned from her position at Richland County JFS in April 2021.

SIU attorneys were appointed as special prosecutors in the case by the Richland County Prosecutor’s Office.

Since 2019, the Special Investigations Unit has assisted in 106 convictions resulting in more than $5 million in restitution (see?Map of SIU Convictions?since January 2019). The team receives hundreds of tips of suspected fraud annually. Tips can be submitted anonymously online or via SIU’s fraud hotline at 866-FRAUD-OH (866-372-8364).


The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio is responsible for auditing more than 5,900 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Keith Faber, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies, and promotes transparency in government. 

Public Affairs
Contact: Marc Kovac