AUGUSTA — A Winthrop woman who embezzled $30,000 from the Winthrop United Methodist Church while she was its treasurer and office manager was sentenced Thursday on welfare fraud charge stemming from that.

Tricia L. Day, 35, had pleaded guilty in January to an indictment charging her with theft by deception and two counts of unsworn falsification that occurred in the period of August through December 2014.

At the sentencing hearing Thursday, the prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Darcy Mitchell, said Day had embezzled from the church and failed to declare that income when she applied for public assistance from the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Judge Tom Nale imposed the two-year, all suspended sentence that was recommended by both Mitchell and Day’s attorney Kaela Jalbert.

Mitchell said she normally would not recommend a fully suspended sentence, but this case was an exception, partly because Day already has served time in prison for the related theft case.

For the church money theft, Day was sentenced to an initial 11 months in prison, with the remainder of the five-year sentence suspended and two years’ probation. In that case, a judge ordered Day to pay $3,000 restitution, to include $1,000 for the deductible amount the church paid its insurer. The probation on the new conviction is to be concurrent.

On Thursday, Nale also imposed the $9,155.67 restitution Mitchell sought for the benefit of DHHS.

Jalbert asked that Day be permitted to pay it at a rate of $20 a month. At that rate, it would take more than 38 years for her to pay the money back. Day told the judge she had no source of income.

“I do intend to start working as soon as I can so I can pay that and some to get this cleared up as soon as possible,” Day told the judge. In the meantime, she said, family members would help her to ensure the monthly fee was paid.

The indictment alleges Day committed theft by deception in receiving money from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and MaineCare after she “did intentionally create or reinforce the impression that she received no more than $500 to $800 semi-monthly, which impression was false and which the defendant did not believe to be true.”

It says she knowingly omitted information from a written application for benefits that would have indicated her income was higher than she had reported previously.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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