GOSHEN – Information gathered by an Orange County Social Services employee pertaining to alleged fraud by a county client has been destroyed by the FBI because the investigation conducted by employee Nicole Latreille was not authorized, county spokesman Justin Rodriguez said Tuesday.
When it was learned by county officials that she had used county computers and databases while on county time, she was suspended temporarily and given a lateral assignment.
Her attorney, Michael Sussman, then filed a lawsuit against the county human resources and social services commissioners.
But Rodriguez said Tuesday that “only authorized personnel are permitted use of certain databases containing sensitive and confidential information.” He said by her own admission, Latreille claimed that on county time, she “accessed this restricted information not pursuant to her official duties, but as a private citizen.”
Rodriguez said that the allegations in the complaint filed by her attorney, “while populist, are not legally tenable and in fact may have compromised ongoing investigations.”
The county spokesman said while Latreille said the information she compiled was provided to the FBI, the federal agency informed the county that it has destroyed that information “due to the improprieties associated with the manner in which the information was obtained.” He said the FBI never requested the information and that none of that information was used in any criminal investigation or prosecution.”
Rodriguez said it is “general knowledge that evidence used in the court of law must be obtained in an appropriate manner and the failure to do so can adversely impact the use of such information in future court proceedings.” He said there is “a long-standing Special Investigations Unit that refers all fraudulent matters over certain thresholds to the district attorney for action regardless of the residence of the target. That practice will be enthusiastically continued as we seek to eliminate welfare fraud at every opportunity.”