AUGUSTA — A Winthrop woman who was fired as a disability claims examiner for the state Department of Health & Human Services was ordered Monday to serve 21 months in prison and to pay $50,000 in restitution for illegally collecting state benefits for several years.

Crystal Hodsdon, 33, was convicted by a judge on Oct. 31 of one count of Class B theft by deception, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Hodson was sentenced Monday to six years in prison with all but 21 months suspended.

Justice Daniel Billings, who presided over the bench trial in Kennebec County Superior Court and imposed the sentenced Monday, granted a request by Hodsdon’s attorney to allow Hodsdon to remain free on bail pending appeal.

Authorities said she received benefits from May 1, 2009, through April 30, 2013, through the MaineCare Program, which is administered by the state DHHS.

She was acquitted by the judge of a separate misdemeanor count of theft by deception. That accused of her illegally accepting benefits Jan. 19-Feb. 16, 2010, from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program through the Maine State Housing Authority.

The sentence includes three years of probation and an order to pay $50,000 restitution, some $6,000 of that during probation.


Hodsdon’s defense attorney, James Lawley, asked for his client to remain free pending appeal, arguing that Hodsdon had no prior criminal record and “has stood as a professional member of the community.” Hodsdon had been free on personal recognizance bail pending the sentencing.

Lawley said the appeal would center on the question of Hodsdon qualifying for the assistance and how much time her two children stayed with her, which is a standard determining benefit eligibility.

“All the manual states is that a person in Crystal’s position must have her children living with her 50 percent of the time,” he wrote in a motion filed with the court, referring to DHHS rules. Lawley said Hodsdon was close to that threshold.

The prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Darcy Mitchell, said Hodsdon had indicated she had the children five to six days a week, when it was really only on weekends.

Lawley noted that Hodsdon had lost her job as a result of the case and had been unemployed for the past 18 months. At various times, Hodsdon had earned about $40,000 a year in her state job. She had been working as a disability claims examiner in the South Paris office of DHHS. She was previously an eligibility specialist.

Lawley had sought a fully suspended six-year sentence for his client. He said she should pay $44,000 in restitution.


Mitchell had recommended a sentence of eight years in prison, with all but four years suspended, and three years of probation. In her sentencing memo, she also requested restitution of $109,000, saying that Hodson, her current husband and her two children received that amount for benefits “that the family was not entitled to.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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