A Saco woman pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to collecting Social Security benefits for two children who were not in her custody.

Kelly McCabe, 36, of Saco, pleaded guilty to Social Security fraud and theft of public money at U.S. District Court in Portland, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

McCabe had two girls, born in 2003 and 2005, who were severely disabled and qualified for Social Security benefits in 2006 and 2008. The benefits were paid to the mother and she continued to receive the payments after the girls were placed in the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families in June 2012, according to court documents. The Massachusetts DCF gained permanent custody of the two children in August 2013, and McCabe terminated her parental rights of the children in July 2014.

McCabe collected nearly $86,000 in Social Security benefits on behalf of the two children from 2012 to 2017, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The fraud was discovered when a Massachusetts social worker visited a Social Security field office to obtain Social Security cards for the two girls and inquire about benefits they might qualify for. The social worker learned that McCabe had been receiving Social Security benefits for the two children the entire time they were in Massachusetts’ state custody, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

McCabe, who was living at a Portland homeless shelter in 2017, faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for Social Security fraud and up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for theft of public money. She also faces up to three years of supervised release. She will be sentenced after the completion of a pre-sentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office.

Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 780-9015 or at:
[email protected]

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