Medford couple pleads guilty to welfare fraud


BOSTON (AP) - A married couple from Medford has avoided prison time after pleading guilty to stealing more than $161,000 in welfare benefits from the state and federal governments.

Stacie Coviello-Hickey and her husband, Ronald Hickey, were each sentenced Wednesday to five years of probation and ordered to pay full restitution.

The state attorney general's office says from 2005 until 2011, the couple received food stamps, health benefits and disability benefits from the governments, even as the Ronald Hickey held down an $80,000 per year job with health insurance.

They also lied to investigators looking into the fraud by obtaining a fake rental agreement to show they were not living together.

Attorney General Martha Coakley tells the Boston Herald that the case was "particularly egregious."

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