Former state health department employee admitted stealing nearly $90,000 in federal assistance
A former employee with the state health department admitted to stealing nearly $90,000 from federal assistance programs by submitting false information on applications.
According to a U.S. Attorney’s Office press release, Heather Marie Bugni, 34, of Butte, was a client services coordinator for six years and processed applications and approved benefits for multiple programs including Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Bugni entered false information and incorrect wage information that resulted in her boyfriend’s mother receiving $13,869 in Medicaid benefits and $848 in SNAP benefits and her boyfriend’s father receiving $63,303 in Medicaid benefits, according to prosecutors.
Bugni also posed as her boyfriend in applying for SNAP benefits on behalf of her daughter. She also posed as her boyfriend’s mother in verifying a false address she provided.
“Bugni knew that if she had provided the correct address, her own income would have made her daughter and boyfriend ineligible for SNAP benefits. Bugni received $11,309 in SNAP benefits from this conduct,” according to the release.
Bugni pleaded guilty to theft of government money, property or records on Thursday. Bugni faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.