Four area women were indicted by a Knox County grand jury April 10 for welfare fraud.

Brittany Seavey, 41, of South Thomaston is charged with one count of theft by deception and one count of unsworn falsification. The defendant is accused of giving false information when applying for and receiving food stamps, saying the father of her child was not part of her household and not contributing income, which is false, according to court documents.

Seavey received monetary benefits from food stamps in excess of $10,000, from November 2008 to March 2011, according to the indictment.

Megan Owen, 32, of Topsham, is charged with one count of theft by deception for receiving benefits through the additional support for people in retraining and employment program from January 2008 to April 2011. Owen received more than $1,000 in benefits but not in excess of $10,000 for saying she was taking classes at the University of Southern Maine, which was false, according to the indictment.

Tanya Bormet, 41, of Northport is charged with one count of theft by deception and one count of unsworn falsification for purposefully deceiving the state by attesting her two step-daughters were part of her household and that her husband was not employed. The defendant made the allegations from September 2012 to January 2013, which were false, according to court documents.

It is alleged Bormet received more than $1,000 in food stamp benefits but less than $10,000.

Margaret Robinson, 32, of Rockland is charged with two counts of theft by deception, one count of attempted theft by deception, two counts of aggravated forgery and 10 counts of unsworn falsification from 2007 to 2011.

The first count alleges she obtained more than $10,000 from the housing authority, claiming her husband did not live at her home and did not contribute an income, which was false, said court documents.

During the same time period, Robinson received benefits through the temporary assistance for needy families program and food stamps in excess of $10,000. The defendant was entitled to the benefits as she claimed her husband did not live with her and did not provide financial assistance, which was false, said court documents.

In March 2010, court documents state Robinson altered a written statement for a discharge summary from Pen Bay Medical Center that was filed with the Department of Health and Human Services to verify her claim for public benefits. Robinson, again in 2011, is accused of making or altering a written statement of an employment letter from the Brown Bag Restaurant to verify her need for public assistance. For the two falsified statements, she is charged with two counts aggravated forgery.

Robinson is charged with attempted theft by deception for obtaining food stamp benefits, saying she was employed only by the Brown Bag Restaurant, which was false, said court documents.

Ten counts of unsworn falsification Robinson faces stem from information she omitted about her employment at Kaler's Korner, her husband's income, and that he lived with her to the Department of Health and Human Services, according to court documents.

John A. Martins, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, said although it is difficult to assess, he believes there is more fraud than the state has been able to investigate.

Gov. LePage is committed to eliminating welfare fraud and abuse, he said, resulting in additional staff hired in the fraud unit, and a stronger working relationship between the Attorney General's Office and investigators.

Martins said information submitted to the department by recipients of aid is verified through a variety of methods, including bank statements, tax returns, bills, business records, unemployment and social security records.

Martins said various systems are used to compare information provided to the department to find discrepancies, adding the department updates the systems regularly.

State and federal data is used to identify problem cases, he said.

Martins said people are often caught through these systems, as well as department staff scrutinizing cases, and public reporting through a telephone fraud hotline and an online report.

To report a case of fraud, call 1-866-348-1129 or visit www.maine.gov/fraud.

Courier Publications reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at jlaaka@courierpublicationsllc.com.