Former Department of Health and Human Services Employee Sentenced to 30 Days in Jail for Forgery and Theft of Public Funds

January 11, 2010


Contact: Leanne Robbin,
Assistant Attorney General, (207) 626-8581

Portland- Attorney General Janet Mills announced today that Ruth Hazelton, age 58, of Portland, Maine has been sentenced by Justice Thomas Warren in Cumberland County Superior Court to 30 days in jail for three counts of Aggravated Forgery, three counts of Misuse of Identification and three counts of Theft. Hazelton was a long term employee of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services who misused Electronic Benefit Cards that had been issued to two of the Department?s clients. Electronic Benefit Cards are issued to give recipients of public assistance and food stamps access to their benefits. Hazleton used the recipients? pin numbers to steal their benefits.

The total amount of the loss to the State resulting from Mrs. Hazelton?s forgeries and theft was $314.61.

Attorney General Leanne Robbin, Chief of the Office?s Financial Crimes and Civil Rights Division, stated, ?Most public employees work diligently on behalf of the people of the State of Maine, particularly in these difficult economic times. The Office of the Attorney General will request significant penalties when any public official breaches the public trust for his or her personal gain. Although the amount the State could prove as stolen in this case was small, the breach of trust was egregious and warranted jail time.?

Hazelton has been ordered to report to jail the week of January 22, 2010. Prior to sentencing, Mrs. Hazelton had completed 240 hours of public service. She has been ordered to pay the restitution in the amount of $314.61.

Attorney General Janet T. Mills would like to thank the Fraud Investigation and Recovery Unit of the Department of Health and Human Services for their diligent investigation of this matter.