There are a lot of people out there who need welfare benefits. Most of those people follow the process and apply for the assistance they need by truthfully and accurately filling out the necessary applications. That was not the case, according to a recent Times Record report from Maine.
Following a two-day trial, the article reports the woman was convicted of three counts of theft by deception and unsworn falsification for stealing nearly $60,000 in benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Child Care development Fund Voucher Program (CCDF). The fraud took place from January 2005 to May 2010. (Five years of theft. WOW!)
According to the Maine Attorney General’s office, “’the woman falsely reported to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services that she was separated from her husband and living alone with her children and repeated this claim in written applications in order to keep her benefits.’” That was not the case. In fact, “’the income she reported was at least 70 percent lower than her actual household income.’”
In a separate case, the same woman was indicted by a county grand jury in July 2010, for a Class B felony theft charge for allegedly withdrawing $11,000 from her bank account that was not hers. According to the article, the money was mistakenly deposited into her account by the bank, and she withdrew the funds and closed the account. (I think it went something like this…Well, it was in my account after all. Not my fault you gave it to me.) She plead guilty to a misdemeanor theft charge and paid full restitution.
On December 13, The Times Record reported the woman was sentenced to five years in prison with all but 13 months suspended followed by three years of probation and must pay restitution of $59,816.38. (Well, at least they will get the money back!)