WARREN, Maine — A Warren woman accused of illegally obtaining more than $250,000 in welfare benefits over more than a decade will plead not guilty Monday, her attorney said Friday.
Robin L. Snell, 44, of Warren was indicted last month on charges of felony theft and forgery.
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services said Friday that this is the largest welfare fraud case it has uncovered.
“This is the most common type of welfare fraud we see where an individual lies about their income or living situation,” said Samantha Edwards, the communications director for DHHS. “This case is not unique, and the length of time it occurred is not likely unique. [Gov. Paul LePage’s administration] has spent the last five and a half years focusing efforts on identifying and prosecuting welfare fraud. We must continue to have zero tolerance for people who intentionally abuse taxpayer funded welfare benefits.”
Snell is scheduled to make her initial court appearance Monday in Knox County Unified Court in Rockland, her attorney, Steven Peterson of Rockport, said.
“She totally denies she did anything wrong,” Peterson said. “The state is trying to make her the poster child for welfare fraud because of its budget problems.”
He said Snell received benefits years ago but made full disclosure to the state when she applied for the aid.
Spokesman Timothy Feeley said the attorney general’s office could not comment on details of the case other than what was alleged in the indictment.
The indictment states that Snell committed theft from October 2002 through July 2013 of more than $10,000 from the supplemental nutrition assistance program known as food stamps, MaineCare program for health coverage, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, the Additional Support for People in Retraining and Employment program known as ASPIRE, and the Parents as Scholars program.
The indictment claims that Snell intentionally created or reinforced the false impressions that her husband was not living with her and not contributing to the household income. The state also alleges that she intentionally made false claims that she did not have assets of more than $2,000 and made between $161 to $315 per week.
Snell was issued a summons on the charges.