Man, woman charged with using Social Security numbers of children to avoid losing welfare

Posted Feb. 15, 2012, at 1:09 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 15, 2012, at 1:30 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — A man and woman living in different towns appeared Tuesday in U.S. District Court on two counts each of Social Security fraud in separate cases.

Jessica Bartlett, 28, of Brunswick and Mark Judd, 33, of Lisbon are accused of using a child’s Social Security number as his and her own to hide income, according to court documents.

Bartlett was released Tuesday on $10,000 unsecured bail. A bail hearing for Judd is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Bartlett began receiving welfare assistance in 2001 from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, according to court documents.

Her son was assigned a Social Security number in 2007 after his birth.

Bartlett’s alleged fraud came to light late last year, when investigators discovered she had earned more than $1,700 and in October obtained a car loan using her son’s Social Security number, according to court documents. The 2007 Dodge Caravan was repossessed five months after it was purchased.

Judd was living in subsidized housing and began receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families in 2003, according to court documents. His son was assigned a Social Security number in 2004 after his birth.

He earned nearly $23,000 using his son’s Social Security number from two different employers, according to court documents. He also allegedly failed to report a change in income to the property management firm at his housing complex as required.

It could not be determined from court documents if Bartlett and Judd knew each other or worked on the scheme together or separately. Both were arrested Tuesday and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Rich III in back-to-back hearings in federal court in Portland.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Joyce, who is prosecuting the case, declined Tuesday in an email to comment on whether the cases were connected.

If convicted, each faces up to five years in prison and fines of up to $250,000. Bartlett and Judd also could be ordered to pay back the state and federal assistance they received but did not qualify for if they are found guilty.

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