Fitchburg Woman Sentenced for Theft of Public Funds

 by TWIW StaffApril 5, 2021

FITCHBURG - A federal judge in a Worcester court sentenced a local woman for fraudulently receiving Social Security disability benefits, MassHealth and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP] benefits.

Rhonda Bernal, 62, of Fitchburg, received a sentence of one month of home confinement and two years of probation. She must also make restitution to the Social Security Administration, MassHealth, and the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance.

Bernal pleaded guilty to three counts of theft of public funds and two counts of making false statements in December 2020.

According to court documents, Bernal told the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance that she was the only person in her household while her husband was living at the same residence. She also told the Social Security Administration in April 2016 that the only members of her household were herself and another relative that was not her husband.

According to federal prosecutors, these fraudulent statements led to Bernal collecting $71,462 in Social Security benefits, $6,444 in MassHealth benefits, and $13,505 in SNAP benefits over an eight-year period.

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