An Oklahoma County district judge has been charged with felony fraud for taking foster care payments for twins that she adopted, but secretly gave to another woman to raise.
Judge Tammy-Bass LeSure, 43, and husband Karlos Antonio LeSure, 46, took $22,000 in foster care reimbursements from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services beginning in January 2008, when they agreed to become foster parents of the infant boy and girl. The DHS paid the pair $730 per month.
Around the same time prosecutors allege, they gave the children to LeSure’s bailiff’s sister, who has been raising the children ever since. The woman who has custody of the children told investigators that other than DHS payments to day-care providers, she had not received any compensation or assistance for the care of the children.
The judge was charged with 30 counts of making fraudulent claims and two counts of perjury, while her husband was charged with two counts of making a false claim and two counts of perjury. The district attorney’s chief investigator said that the judge used some of the money in Texas and Maryland “at spas, nail salons and casinos,” according to an affidavit that was part of the filing.
Prosecutors said that the judge took repeated actions to suppress the truth about who had custody of the children “through trick, false appearances and/or unfair acts.”
Bass-LeSure was first elected to the bench 12 years ago, and until recently, handled criminal cases. Last year, she moved to probate, guardianship and adoption cases after she was accused of misconduct while handling a high-profile criminal case.
The judge and her husband have had financial troubles in recent years, filing for bankruptcy in 2009, reporting debts of more than $1 million.
The judge currently earns over $120,000 from her post.