AUBURN — Three people charged in a scheme aimed at defrauding welfare programs pleaded not guilty to related felonies Thursday.
The three defendants were released on their own recognizance with no conditions after the brief morning hearings.
Arraigned in Androscoggin County Superior Court were:
* Christopher S. Frazer, 43, of 28 Walnut St., indicted by an Androscoggin County grand jury on one count of unlawful trafficking in schedule W drugs, one count of felony theft by deception and three counts of misuse of identification.
* Katherine M. Pike, 40, of 459 Plummer Hill Road, Waterford, charged with one count of theft by deception and one count of misuse of identification.
* David M. Stain, 46, of 391 Lisbon St., Lewiston, charged with two counts of theft by deception.
Two other men were indicted but have not been located. They are:
* Manny Souza, 20, of 391 Lisbon St., Lewiston, charged with one count of felony theft by deception, one count of misuse of identification and one count of unlawful trafficking in schedule Z drugs.
* Robert W. Baylor, 34, of 128 Campus Ave., Lewiston, charged with one count of felony theft by deception.
A day earlier, the Maine Attorney General’s Office filed charges against three others stemming from the same investigation.
That office filed misdemeanor complaints in 8th District Court in Lewiston against:
* Shanon Drummond, on two charges of theft by deception and one charge of unsworn falsification.
* William Dunn, on two charges of theft by deception.
* Duane Thomas, on one charge of theft by deception.
Ages and addresses of the three latter defendants were not available.
All of the defendants named above are accused of playing parts in a welfare fraud ring by abusing EBT (electronic benefit) cards by buying or selling them or exchanging them for drugs, authorities said.