November 5, 2010

Woman accused of bilking state by claiming 40 months of pregnancy

Morning Sentinel Staff

AUGUSTA — A Winslow woman is accused of fraudulently obtaining food stamps by forging state documents to say she was pregnant over a 40-month period.

Leah L. Wright, 34, of Winslow was indicted Thursday by a grand jury in Kennebec County Superior Court on one count of theft by deception and eight counts of aggravated forgery.

An indictment is not a determination of guilt but indicates sufficient evidence is present to proceed with charges and a trial.

According to the indictment, Wright received between $1,000 and $10,000 from the state Department of Health and Human Services between Sept. 28, 2006, and Feb. 1, 2010, by falsely stating she was pregnant.

Assistant Attorney General Leane Robbin said Wright received about $4,000 in food stamp benefits.

"You can't continue food stamps benefits forever unless there is a reason you can't work," Robbin said.

The forgery charges all involve letters from medical practitioners and agencies in Waterville and Augusta that verify Wright's pregnancies, gestational periods and due dates. Two notes from separate agencies show one pregnancy followed another by a day.

Robbin said Wright was summonsed on the charges and will be arraigned in Kennebec County Superior Court.

There was no indication that Wright had retained an attorney. She is scheduled to be arraigned in superior court at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

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