Case Worker, Clerk and Caregiver Plead Guilty in Three Separate Criminal Cases

Modified: February 16, 2021 4:45pm

2/16/2021

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn announces that his office’s Special Investigations and Prosecutions (SIP) Unit has successfully prosecuted three women who face various charges for using their employment as a means to commit crimes. All three defendants appeared in court this morning before State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns.

Tamara Ebo, 44, of Buffalo pleaded guilty to one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (Class “D” felony), one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree (Class “E” felony) and one count of Official Misconduct (Class “A” misdemeanor).

The defendant, while employed as a case worker for Erie County Department of Social Services Adult Protection, embezzled approximately $42,574.16 from 14 clients between September 1, 2016 and June 30, 2019 through manipulating invoices, falsifying vendor transactions, and directing payments to herself.

The investigation began after the Erie County Department of Social Services received a call from an employee of a non-profit agency who reported several questionable transactions on the account of an individual who was being assisted by an adult protection case worker. The defendant was terminated from her position shortly thereafter.

Ebo, who pleaded guilty to the highest sustainable charge, faces a maximum of seven years in prison when she is sentenced on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. She was released on her own recognizance.

Nicole Wichlacz, 31, of Buffalo pleaded guilty to one count of Official Misconduct (Class “A” misdemeanor).

The defendant, while employed as a clerk typist for Erie County Department of Social Services Child Protective Services (CPS), accessed county records and divulged information to a friend on multiple occasions between July 30, 2019 and December 27, 2019. It is unlawful for an employee to take any action on a CPS case involving a family member or friend; or for their own personal financial interest.

The investigation began after the Erie County Department of Social Services received a tip. The defendant was terminated from her position in November 2020.

Wichlacz, who pleaded guilty to the highest sustainable charge, faces a maximum of one year in jail when she is sentenced on Monday, April 26, 2021 at 9:45 a.m. She was released on her own recognizance.

Wendi Jo Oliver, 40, of Barker pleaded guilty to one count of Attempted Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree (Class “A” misdemeanor).

The defendant, while employed as a homecare nurse for an adult victim with cerebral palsy in the Town of Clarence, falsified timesheets between February 1, 2018 and December 1, 2019. As a result of her actions, the defendant unlawfully collected $11,700.00 in pay through the victim’s special needs trust fund.

The defendant was terminated from her position shortly after the theft was uncovered. She paid full restitution to the victim at her court appearance today.

Olivier faces a maximum of one year in jail when she is sentenced on Monday, April 26, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. She was released on her own recognizance.

“These services are designed to prevent the exploitation of vulnerable adults and children in our community. These three women used their employment as a means to take advantage of the system and the people it serves to protect,” said Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn.

DA Flynn commends Detective Deputy Dan Brinkeroff of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and Assistant Commissioner-Administration Gavin Kasper of Erie County Department of Social Services for their work in the investigations.

All three cases were prosecuted by Chief Candace Vogel of the DA’s SIP Unit.