BOSTON, July 6, 2004 – LAWFUEL – A Newburyport woman was arrested on July 1,
2004 on a federal indictment charging her with defrauding the Social Security
Administration and stealing approximately $34,808 from the United States
United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan and Leo J. Sullivan, Special
Agent in Charge of Investigations for the U.S. Social Security
Administration’s Office of Inspector General in New England, announced that
MARY ELLEN LABRECQUE, age 52, of Barton Street, Newburyport, was charged in an
indictment with stealing money belonging to the United States, making a series
of false statements, and concealing material facts from the Social Security
Administration (“SSA”) that resulted in her obtaining disability benefits to
which she was not entitled.
The indictment alleges that between May 1999 and July 2003, LABRECQUE
stole $34,808 from the SSA. The indictment further alleges that LABRECQUE
made several false statements to the SSA regarding her employment history and
wages on forms related to her disability benefits. LABRECQUE also is charged
with concealing her employment and earnings received from the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts, Department of Environmental Protection, from the SSA. For
instance, it is alleged that LABRECQUE, in a letter to the SSA regarding her
continued qualification for disability benefits, omitted the fact that she
earned $42,000 from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts when describing her work
history for 2001.
In December 2003, at the time the indictment was handed down by a federal
grand jury, LABRECQUE was teaching at the University of London. The
indictment was sealed until her return to the United States on July 1, 2004.
Following an appearance in federal court, on July 2, 2004, Chief U.S.
Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler ordered that LABRECQUE be released subject
to her posting a secured bond of $34,000 by July 16, 2004. Chief Magistrate
Judge Bowler also ordered LABRECQUE to surrender her passports issued by the
United States and Ireland.
If convicted on these charges, LABRECQUE faces up to 10 years’
imprisonment, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and a $250,000
The case was investigated by the U.S. Social Security Administration’s
Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations. It is being prosecuted
by Assistant U.S. Attorney B. Stephanie Siegmann in Sullivan’s Office.