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Fired worker accused of welfare theft

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OGDEN (AP) — A fired state Department of Workforce Services employee has been accused of redirecting welfare funds to her own bank account.

Kelly Irene Mickles, 29, Ogden, has been charged with six counts of misusing public money and two counts of tampering with a witness, all third-degree felonies.

Investigators from the Utah Department of Public Safety had been investigating Mickles since October. She was arrested Jan. 8 and released on $40,000 bond.

Curt Stewart, spokesman for the Department of Workforce Services in Salt Lake City, said Mickles worked for the department at its Ogden office but would not comment further.

Deputy Weber County Attorney Camille Neider said Mickles allegedly diverted funds used for public assistance at least six times during October.

The funds, "in the neighborhood of $500 each time," were to have been deposited into the Utah Horizon Card accounts of welfare recipients.

"There were different occasions and different clients that were being affected," Neider said.

While the criminal investigation was under way "the suspect threatened two witnesses if they did not give false information to investigating officers," according to a probable cause statement filed Jan. 9 in court.