Former White House advisor Claude A. Allen was recently charged with two felony theft charges after a Jan. 2 brush with police resulted in an investigation.
Allen, who resigned in February as President Bush’s top domestic policy advisor, admitted “that he was committing fraudulent returns” on Jan. 2 when a store manager confronted him as was leaving a Maryland Target with merchandise he allegedly didn’t pay for, according to a police charging document.
Police accused him of stealing “clothing and cleaning products” worth $74.72 from the store. Allen obtained a refund by presenting receipts for items he purchased previously and then walked out of the store with additional merchandise he had not paid for, according to police.
”He’s human. I think that was something he just wanted to do because being an advisor in the Bush administration I’m sure he could have bought the things he stole himself,” said Aaliyah Pierre, real estate and finance major at Mt. San Antonio College in California. “He may have gotten some type of fulfillment from stealing.”
Mallon Snyder, Claude’s lawyer, told the Washington Post that Allen did not steal from the stores and that the transactions in question were “misunderstandings.” However, Snyder declined to give more information on the nature of the misunderstanding or on Allen’s alleged acknowledgment of involvement Jan. 2.
Although prosecutors dropped the Jan. 2 misdemeanor charge, Allen was arrested and charged with theft scheme and theft over $500, each punishable by as much as 15 years in prison.
The Jan. 2 incident is not the only alleged incident. Police said they have been able to document 25 instances in which Allen tried to obtain refunds for items he was seen picking up from shelves at Target and Hecht’s stores in Maryland by using receipts for identical items he had bought earlier. The Montgomery County Police Department in Maryland reported in the charging document that Allen sought refunds for more than $5,000 in the past year.
Allen obtained a refund by presenting receipts for items he purchased previously and then walked out of the store with additional merchandise he had not paid for, according to police.
The Washington Post reported that Allen’s neighbors and friends describe him as an honorable and honest man and his church congregation supported him after news of his arrest broke out.