30 day sentence for women who faked pregnancy to collect food stamps.

Posted: June 25
Updated: Today at 10:47 PM
Woman gets 30 days in food stamp scam case
Authorities claim Leah Wright of Winslow faked a pregnancy for 40 months to obtain food stamps.

By BETH STAPLES Morning Sentinel

AUGUSTA – A Winslow woman was sentenced Friday to 30 days in jail for forging medical documents saying she was pregnant during a 40-month period so she could get food stamps.

Justice Robert Murray Jr. sentenced Leah Wright, 35, in Kennebec County Superior Court. She also was given two years of probation and ordered to pay restitution.

On Friday, Wright changed her previous not-guilty pleas to guilty on one count of aggravated forgery and one count of theft by deception.

In exchange for her guilty pleas, the state dismissed seven other counts of aggravated forgery against her.

“We accept the disposition as just,” defense attorney Andrews Campbell said. “But the girl gave up school to take care of her father and she has numerous mental health issues. Welfare fraud is endemic and it’s not going to be stopped by singling out a vulnerable individual who wasn’t completely honest.”

Campbell recommended to Murray that Wright be put on probation and not serve any jail time.

In rendering his decision, Murray said, “The defendant does have significant mental health issues (but) I cannot conclude that straight probation is appropriate. There needs to be a period of time served by this defendant.”

Assistant Attorney General Peter Black recommended eight months of jail time, in addition to the two years probation with a condition of mental health counseling and full restitution off $4,820.

“We are pleased that Ms. Wright will spend some time in jail,” Black said. “We will continue to vigorously pursue jail time for people who steal from Maine’s safety net.”

Black said Wright’s acts were premeditated and involved lying to caseworkers.

Wright was indicted in November on one count of theft by deception and eight counts of aggravated forgery. From September 2006 until February 2010, she bilked the Department of Health and Human Services out of $4,820 in food stamps.

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