Finance

Waterville Woman Pleads Guilty to Three Counts of Welfare Fraud

AUGUSTA – On Tuesday, June 6th, Chelsey Johnson of Waterville pleaded guilty to one count of Theft by Deception Class B and two counts of Unsworn Falsification Class D.

Johnson failed to report income that she had earned while participating in reviews with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) from July 2012 through August 2014. As a result, she received $14,578 in Food Supplement Benefits that she would not have been eligible for had she accurately reported her income.

Johnson will spend four months in jail followed by two years of probation. Additionally, she was also ordered to pay $14,578 in restitution to DHHS. This case was developed by Fraud Investigators from the Augusta Fraud Investigation and Recovery Unit.

“The Department remains vigilant in our efforts to end welfare abuse and fraud. I am incredibly proud of the hard work and dedication of our Fraud Investigation and Recovery Unit (FIRU) to ensure that tax payer dollars are being spent appropriately and those who choose to take advantage of our system are held accountable,” said Acting DHHS Commissioner Ricker Hamilton. “It is imperative that these benefits are going to the people who truly need them.”

So far this year, the FIRU provided 35 cases to the Attorney General’s Office for prosecution totaling $710,506. An additional 10 cases have been sent to local District Attorney Offices totaling $2,225.

In 2016, a total of 174 criminal cases were referred from DHHS for prosecution totaling $1.7 million in welfare theft.

The Department of Health and Human Services is committed to improving the program’s integrity and operational effectiveness. If you want to report potential fraud, you can do so online or by calling the state’s Fraud Hotline at 1-866-348-1129.

Online Fraud Reporting Form: www.maine.gov/dhhs/fraud/

Copyright © 2015 A Daily News.

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