Gabriella Iannetta

DMHAS Caseworker Accused of Stealing $35K From Substance Abuse Treatment Program

A state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services caseworker is accused of running a kickback scheme that stole over $35,000 from the agency’s substance abuse treatment program.

According to Connecticut State Police, 45-year-old Nikkita Chesney was a caseworker involved in the Access to Recovery substance abuse treatment program. Investigators allege that Chesney promised clients cash in return for requesting daycare services, which is a benefit option through the program. Police said there were forged documents used to make it appear as though clients were eligible for the benefits, when they should not have been eligible.

Investigators said Chesney conspired with others, including ATR clients and two home daycare providers. In total, the scheme siphoned $35,197 from the ATR program.

Chesney turned herself in to police after investigators obtained an arrest warrant. She faces charges of first-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit larceny, second-degree forgery and conspiracy to commit forgery.

Police said they've identified three others, 37-year-old Joyce Walker, 59-year-old Merlisia Bennett, and 69-year-old Rachel Lawrence, as co-conspirators. All three were arrested and face larceny charges. Bennett and Walker also face forgery charges.

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