AUBURN — A Lewiston couple denied in court Thursday charges that they schemed to defraud the government out of welfare benefits over the past nine years.

Amina H. Ege, 42, of 105 Shawmut St., was indicted by an Androscoggin County grand jury on two counts of theft by deception, four counts of aggravated forgery and 12 counts of unsworn falsification. Six of the charges are felonies punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The remaining charges are misdemeanors.

Abdi A. Hassan, 43, of the same address, was indicted on two counts of theft by deception, seven counts of aggravated forgery, one count of negotiating a worthless instrument and five counts of unsworn falsification. Nine of the charges are felonies, each punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and one of the counts is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. The rest of the charges are misdemeanors.

According to court documents, the two are accused of lying about the fact that they were living together while Hassan was providing Ege with financial support. She was accused of failing to disclose that she had received a workers’ compensation settlement.

Because of those omissions, according to the indictment, Ege received more than $10,000 worth of benefits from programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Section 8 housing, among others.

The indictment also charged that Ege altered or falsified statements allegedly signed by a pair of local physicians in her attempt to deceive the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

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Ege is further accused of misleading DHHS about her living arrangements while seeking food stamps and other government benefits.

The theft charges against Ege say she misled the DHHS while collecting benefits from August 2004 through September 2013.

Ege pleaded not guilty Thursday to each of the 18 charges through an interpreter in Androscoggin County Superior Court, sometimes answering verbally and sometimes shaking her head.

Hassan declined the offer of an interpreter and pleaded not guilty to all 15 charges against him on Thursday.

Both remained free on personal recognizance.

At the request of Adam Sherman, attorney for Ege, Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin said the state would redact all court documents that included Social Security numbers.

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