Woman sentenced to nine months in jail for state’s largest welfare fraud case
ROCKLAND — A Warren woman was sentenced to nine months in jail after pleading guilty May 23 of illegally obtaining state welfare benefits of more than $250,000 for over a decade.
Robin Snell, 45, appeared before Justice Bruce Mallonee in Knox County Unified Court. In addition to the jail sentence, Snell was ordered to repay the state $229,157 in restitution in monthly payments, perform 100 hours of public service and serve one year of probation after her release from jail.
The two counts of aggravated forgery and the second charge of theft by deception were dismissed. For the charge of unsworn falsification, the sentence of 364 days in jail was suspended.
Snell was indicted in September 2016 by the grand jury on charges of felony theft by deception and felony aggravated forgery.
The Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services, Mary Mayhew, said during an interview Oct. 2, on WCSH 6, that it was the largest case of welfare fraud the department has ever investigated.
According to the grand jury indictment filed in Knox County Unified Court, Snell intentionally created the impression her husband was not living with her and that he was not contributing income to the household. The state said Snell falsely represented that she did not have assets of more than $2,000 and only made between $161 and $315 per week.
The indictment further stated that the fraud occurred between 2002 and 2013. Snell was accused of stealing money from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, MaineCare, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the Additional Support for People in Retraining and Employment Program, and the Parents as Scholars Program.
The indictment included two letters dated in June 2011 and July 2012 written by a woman stating that Snell was providing her with private duty nursing care in her home. Snell’s weekly pay was stated as $315 in the first letter and $336 in the second letter. The indictment states that Snell forged the letters that were filed with DHHS.
Snell was represented by Attorney Steven C. Peterson of Rockport. Peterson said during a telephone interview Oct. 24, 2016, that “she did nothing wrong.” He said Snell made full disclosure to the state when she applied and received benefits years ago.
“She did not commit forgery,” Peterson said in regard to the two letters submitted by Snell to DHHS in 2011 and 2012 stating her weekly pay as a private duty nurse. Peterson also questioned why the state has waited so long since the time period of the alleged fraud goes back to 2002.
Reach Sarah Shepherd at email@example.com