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Maine Woman Pleads Guilty to Social Security Disability Fraud, Government Theft

February 25, 2019

Office Affiliation: The Office of Investigations

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Maine:

Portland, Maine:  United States Attorney Halsey B. Frank announced that Sherry Awadjie, 45, of Lewiston, Maine, pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court to theft of funds from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), MaineCare, and the Social Security Administration (SSA). 

Court documents show that from November 2015 until May 2017, Awadjie received public assistance benefits from SNAP, MaineCare, and the SSA because she claimed to be disabled and not earning any income.  In fact, from at least November 2015, Awadjie was gainfully employed and earning income, but failed to inform any of the benefit programs.  On periodic reports that she was required to submit to receive the benefits, she failed to disclose her employment or income.  She also concealed her employment by arranging with her employer to be paid “under the table” and later, under the name of another person.  If she had disclosed her employment and income, she would not have been eligible for the benefits she received, including $3,492 in SNAP benefits, $1,654 in MaineCare benefits, and $15,072 in Social Security benefits.

Awadjie faces up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  She will be sentenced after the completion of a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the SSA, Office of the Inspector General, and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Fraud Investigation and Recovery Unit.

Portland, Maine:  United States Attorney Halsey B. Frank announced that Sherry Awadjie, 45, of Lewiston, Maine, pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court to theft of funds from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), MaineCare, and the Social Security Administration (SSA). 

Court documents show that from November 2015 until May 2017, Awadjie received public assistance benefits from SNAP, MaineCare, and the SSA because she claimed to be disabled and not earning any income.  In fact, from at least November 2015, Awadjie was gainfully employed and earning income, but failed to inform any of the benefit programs.  On periodic reports that she was required to submit to receive the benefits, she failed to disclose her employment or income.  She also concealed her employment by arranging with her employer to be paid “under the table” and later, under the name of another person.  If she had disclosed her employment and income, she would not have been eligible for the benefits she received, including $3,492 in SNAP benefits, $1,654 in MaineCare benefits, and $15,072 in Social Security benefits.

Awadjie faces up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  She will be sentenced after the completion of a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the SSA, Office of the Inspector General, and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Fraud Investigation and Recovery Unit.

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