AUBURN — A Greene man who used his dead father’s electronic welfare benefits card and cashed the deceased man’s workers’ compensation checks was ordered to spend 90 days in jail.

A judge in Androscoggin County County Court on Wednesday sentenced 36-year-old Jason Seger to 18 months in prison on three felony charges. Justice MaryGay Kennedy suspended 15 months of that sentence in agreement with a recommendation by Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin, who prosecuted the case.

Seger’s attorney, Henry Griffin, had argued for a fully suspended sentence, explaining that his client had severely debilitating medical problems that required medical care he couldn’t access at Androscoggin County Jail. He also argued that Seger was needed at home to care for his 5-year-old daughter while his girlfriend, Summer Rowe, worked as a waitress. He suggested house arrest, if that would be appropriate.

Robbin said Seger’s father, Michael, died on July 13, 2015. Within two hours of his father’s death, Jason Seger began using his late father’s EBT card issued by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services with benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. From July 13, 2015, through January, he shopped at various stores, including Wal-Mart, Cumberland Farms, Rite Aid and Family Dollar.

The purchases totaled $1,274.28, Robbin said.

“Quite a bit of usage for a dead person,” she told the judge.

Seger also cashed 28 of his dead father’s workers’ compensation checks issued by the Maine Employers Mutual Insurance Co., totaling $2,950.08 between July 21, 2015, and Jan. 16, when the fraud was discovered, Robbin said. Seger had forged his father’s signature on the checks, she said.

Seger had been given a one-year deferred disposition for theft by receiving stolen property. That means his felony charge would have been dropped to a misdemeanor had he completed that one-year period without committing new criminal conduct.

Seger had gotten $400 from the Lewiston Pawn Shop for stolen goods he pawned there. He was ordered Wednesday to repay that $400 in restitution to the pawnshop as well as $1,274 to DHHS and $2,950 to MEMIC, Kennedy said.

She sentenced Seger to 18 months with all but 90 days suspended for two counts of theft and one count of forgery, all felonies stemming from the DHHS and MEMIC thefts.

On a charge of violating condition of release, he was sentenced to 90 days to be served at the same time as the other charges.

For the theft resulting in the pawned items, Seger was given an 18-month sentence, all suspended except for 90 days, to be served at the same time as the other sentences.

His sentence was stayed for two weeks. After his release from jail, he must remain on probation for two years.

Robbin said the state’s recommendation that Seger serve only 90 days in jail was a reflection of his medically compromised physical condition.

Griffin said Seger had suffered a heart attack two years ago, one year before he was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Seger told Kennedy his heart doctor cleared him to do light-duty work, but that was before his arthritis diagnosis for which he must undergo hospital-based infusions every six weeks. He also is facing hip replacement for his arthritis, which was complicated by a recent onset of gout, but is covered by MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid program.

“This is an act of desperation,” Griffin said of Seger’s crimes.

Rowe said her boyfriend was “not a bad guy. He’s just trying to do what he can to help our family.”

She said Seger’s body is “just fighting against him” after decades of hard work.

“I know what I did was wrong,” Seger told Kennedy as he stood leaning on a cane after hobbling up to the front of the courtroom. “I did it out of complete desperation.”

Seger said he had applied for disability, but his paperwork had apparently been misplaced.

Kennedy set aside the sentencing until conferring in private with a jail administrator and nursing supervisor.

Afterward, Kennedy said the jail would be able to arrange for Seger’s medications, “with a few exceptions” and he would be transported to a hospital for infusions.

Although sympathetic to Seger’s plight, Kennedy noted, “this is not your first rodeo,” referring to criminal convictions in his past.

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