AUGUSTA — A former Oakland woman will spend 20 months behind bars for defrauding the state of more than $80,000 in benefits over 41/2 years.

Lori A. Boutot, 30, now of Stratford, Conn., was sentenced Tuesday in Kennebec County Superior Court on charges of theft by insurance deception, aggravated forgery and unsworn falsification. She pleaded guilty to those charges April 3 in the same court.

Justice Michaela Murphy sentenced Boutot to five years in prison, with all but 20 months suspended, and three years’ probation, and ordered her to pay $80,752 restitution.

Boutot was ordered to report to jail on June 30.

According to the sentencing memo filed by Assistant Attorney General Darcy Mitchell, Boutot submitted 42 forged documents to the Department of Health & Human Services to get benefits from the Additional Support for People in Retraining and Employment program — known as ASPIRE — as well as the food supplement program.

“The defendant promoted the fraud by lying and forging documents about where she was working, where she was going to school, where she was living and who was watching her children,” Mitchell wrote.

The documents say Boutot gave the false impression that she was enrolled in Central Maine Community College or Central Maine Medical Center College of Nursing & Health Professions, and was employed at, or volunteering at, Revolution Health Group, and not receiving housing assistance.

The charge of aggravated forgery says she intended to deceive the state by endorsing false documents filed with Revolution Health Group, the two colleges, as well as St. Mary’s Hospital and her landlord.

The theft by deception and the aggravated forgery allegedly occurred between July 2006 and March 2011 in Kennebec County.

The charge of unsworn falsification says that between Aug. 3, 2009, and Feb. 16, 2011, Boutot filed false reports with ASPIRE, the food stamp program and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The charge says she omitted that she was not attending school and that she was getting assistance from the Waterville Housing Authority.

The prosecutor recommended that Boutot spend an initial two years behind bars; her attorney, William Bly, argued for less, saying Boutot expressed remorse.

In his memo to the court, Bly said Boutot had her first child when she was 20 and that she was “single, poverty-stricken and suffering from severe depression,” which clouded her judgment. He recommended a suspended sentence and a period of supervised probation.

“Given her lack of real criminal history, her really heartfelt contrition and the fact that she accepted responsibility, I thought 20 months was a little harsh,” he said after the sentencing hearing.

Bly said Boutot used most of the money for her education — including a bachelor’s degree from the University of Phoenix — and that it was unlikely she could pay full restitution.

“She actually completed a four-year degree in nursing,” he said. “The worse thing is she’ll never be able to use that degree. She’s a convicted felon.”

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

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