Winslow Man Sentenced for Benefits Fraud

BANGOR, Maine: A Winslow man was sentenced today in federal court for Social Security fraud, health care fraud and theft of government money, Acting U.S. Attorney Donald E. Clark announced.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen sentenced Robert Curtis, 63, to three years of probation, including six months of home confinement. He was also ordered to pay $92,071.90 to the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) and $25,307.35 to the Maine Department of Health & Human Services (“ME/DHHS”) in restitution. Curtis pleaded guilty on March 31, 2021.

According to court records, Curtis was a recipient of Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) benefit payments beginning in February 2011. SSDI benefits are paid to people who are blind or disabled. He also was a recipient of MaineCare coverage beginning in April 2010 and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit payments beginning in February 2011. These programs have reporting requirements for work activity and income, which can affect eligibility for benefits.

During the time he was receiving benefits under these programs, Curtis worked as a medication deliverer. He also served as the lead plaintiff in a civil suit for lost wages, alleging that he should have been classified as an employee instead of an independent contractor, for which he was awarded $21,472.42. He failed to inform SSA or ME/DHHS of his work activity and income, despite periodic reminders that he was required to report it. He also denied any such activity to SSA in a continuing disability review in 2013, and to ME/DHHS in annual reviews in 2011 through 2017, because he knew it could affect his eligibility for benefits. As a result, he improperly received over $92,000 in SSDI benefits, almost $12,000 in SNAP benefits, and over $13,000 in MaineCare benefits.

SSA’s Office of the Inspector General and ME/DHHS investigated this case.

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