BANGOR, Maine — An Eddington woman who collected more than $45,000 in Social Security benefits for seven years after her disabled daughter was removed from her care was sentenced Friday in federal court in Bangor to one month in prison followed by five months of home confinement.
Felicia M. Brooks, 48, also was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to repay $45,441 to the government. Under federal law, restitution is mandatory.
She faced up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, the recommended sentence was between six and 12 months in federal prison.
U.S. District Judge John Woodcock ordered her to report to prison on Nov. 7. The delay will give the U.S. Bureau of Prisons time to determine where she will serve her sentence.
Brooks continued to receive and spend disability benefits for her developmentally disabled daughter, now 17, through mid-April 2007. The child began receiving benefits in 1998 but was removed from her custody by the Maine Department of Human Services in June 2000. Brooks did not re-gain custody of her daughter, according to court documents.
By pleading guilty in May to the fraudulent conversion of Social Security benefits, Brooks admitted that she had lied to the Social Security Administration about where her daughter was living.
Brooks, who receives Social Security benefits herself due to mental health issues, was convicted in 1996 in state court of theft and other charges in a similar incident. She told a DHS worker that she had not received a welfare check that she had already cashed. Brooks was issued a replacement check that she also cashed. She was sentenced to community service by a District Court judge in Skowhegan.