A Wayne man has pleaded guilty to illegally receiving veterans unemployment benefits while he was gainfully employed over a period of years.

Lawrence A. Stewart, 48, entered the plea to theft of public money at a hearing Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

Documents filed by the prosecution say Stewart was overpaid by more than $54,000 between Aug. 26, 2011, and Jan. 1, 2015.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Ruge, at one point, Stewart was earning $6,200 a month from an employer while collecting more than $3,300 a month in individual unemployability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The prosecution’s version of events says that Stewart was entitled to receive some $1,800 monthly in disability benefits, but not unemployability benefits.

Ruge writes, “Veterans who receive IU may work as long as that work is not considered substantially gainful employment.”A conviction for theft of public money carries a maximum imprisonment term of 10 years.

Stewart remains free on personal recognizance bail pending sentencing and was ordered to surrender his passport, which he did.

Stewart is represented by attorney Caleigh S. Milton. She did not immediately respond to a phone call and an emailed request for comment sent Thursday afternoon.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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