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Leominster Woman Gets Probation for Fed Benefits Theft

December 19, 2018

By Peter Jasinski

pjasinski@sentinel andenterprise.com

WORCESTER -- A Leominster woman was sentenced to three years probation in federal court Friday after collecting more than $300,000 in government benefits issued to her deceased father-in-law for almost a decade.

Joyce Progin, 71, was sentenced to time served and three years of supervised released, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston.

Progin was also ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman to pay $324,245, reflecting the amount of money in Social Security and Department of Veterans Affairs benefits intended for her father-in-law that she had cared for.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Progin’s father-in-law had been receiving monthly payments through Social Security and the Department of Veterans Affairs at the time of his November 2009 death.

However, neither agency was notified of his death and continued to deposit benefit payments into a bank account he held jointly with Progin, who was his caregiver.

Between November 2009 and March 2017, Progin received approximately $55,267 in Social Security benefits and approximately $269,978 in benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs between November 2009 and November 2017.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Progin admitted that she knew she was not entitled to the money.

Progin was arrested and charged with theft in January before pleading guilty two counts of theft of public funds in August. A statement issued by U.S. Attorney’s Office at the time of Progin’s arrest explained that the charges Progin had been facing provided a sentence of no more than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised released, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss.

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