A Medford couple has pleaded guilty and been sentenced on charges of EBT fraud and other related state and federal benefits fraud charges totaling more than $161,000, according to a Wednesday release from the state Attorney General’s Office.
Stacie Coviello-Hickey, 41, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Suffolk Superior Court to the following charges: larceny over $250 (two counts), false representation to procure welfare (three counts) and false representations related to the division of medical assistance.
Her husband, Ronald Hickey, 44, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting larceny over $250 (two counts), according to the release.
The couple was ordered to pay restitution in the full amount they fraudulently collected through MassHealth, the Supplemental Security Income Disability (SSI) program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Superior Court Judge Christine Roach also sentenced Coviello-Hickey and Hickey each to five years of probation.
“These defendants stole tens of thousands of dollars from programs that are intended to assist those who are truly in need, including the food stamp program” Attorney General Martha Coakley said in a statement. “With this sentence, they will pay back to taxpayers the amount they fraudulently collected. Schemes such as this one undermine the integrity of these programs and our office remains committed to holding accountable those that commit this type of fraud.”
The couple committed the fraud between 2005 and 2011, according to the release. The vast majority of the fraudulent funds, $111,000, came in the form of MassHealth benefits, according to the release.
Hickey was able to collect the benefits by concealing the fact that she had been residing with her husband, who was employed and making more than $80,000 per year with health insurance that would cover their entire family, according to authorities. Had she disclosed this information, she would have not been eligible for any benefits from either the state or federal government.