"A former domestic policy adviser to President Bush has been charged with theft for allegedly receiving phony refunds at department stores."
"Claude Alexander Allen, 45, was arrested Thursday by Montgomery County police for allegedly claiming refunds for more than $5,000 worth of merchandise he did not buy, according to county and federal authorities."
"Allen was the No. 2 official in the Health and Human Services Department when Bush nominated him in April 2003 to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va. Bush nominated to the court again a year later, but Allen never received a Senate vote."
"During his confirmation hearing, Allen was questioned about his use of the word "queer" when he was a press aide to Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., in 1984. Allen said he didn't intend it as a slur against gay people."
He recently resigned (abruptly) because he wanted to spend more time with his family. I wonder if there was anything else involved?
Per the Washington Post, "White House spokesman Scott McClellan said last night that if the allegation is true, "no one would be more disappointed, shocked and outraged" than the president. McClellan said Allen had told White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. and White House counsel Harriet Miers that the matter was a misunderstanding."
Here is the full story by WBAL:
Former White House Adviser Arrested
Here is the full story (more detail) by the Washington Post:
Former Top Bush Aide Accused of Md. Theft
Refund fraud is a serious problem for retailers. According to a National Retail Security Survey authored by University of Florida criminology professor Richard C. Hollinger, the retail industry lost about $16 billion to theft activities in 2003.
It appears that this crime truly spans all age groups and backgrounds. Allen, by no means is as famous as Winona Ryder, but they might both soon share something in common (the stigma of being a convicted shoplifter).