ROCKLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The woman accused of perpetrating Maine’s largest welfare fraud insists she did nothing wrong.
Robin Snell of Warren made his first court appearance Monday to answer the charges in a grand jury indictment accusing her of theft and forgery.
According to the state Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Snell stole more than $250,000 in welfare benefits over an 11-year period from 2002-2013. Snell said she did receive benefits, but it was all legal.
She made a brief appearance in court in Rockland where she entered a“ not guilty” plea to all three felony charges. According to her lawyer, Snell said she never tried to defraud DHHS.
The indictment alleges that Snell forged two documents and that she misled DHHS to think her husband was not living in the home or not contributing to the household income; thereby collecting hundreds of thousands from five DHHS benefit programs.
“She does not claim she didn't get benefits,” defense attorney Steven Peterson said. “She's saying, plainly, she was eligible for the benefits she received.”
Peterson said Snell did not make false statements to DHHS and once again said the claim she took $250,000 in benefits was “preposterous." He said Snell had been questioned by state investigators but that it was several years ago.
He said he hopes to meet with prosecutors so he and Snell can persuade them she did not violate the law by receiving benefits.
Peterson said Snell became a nurse during the time period of the alleged fraud. The Maine Board of Nursing confirmed Snell was licensed as a registered Nurse in 2009. Peterson said she had been working at the Maine State Prison but lost that job because of the indictment.
The state attorney general’s office and DHHS have both said they cannot comment on the details of the case. Snell is due back in court in January.