PORTLAND — A Greene man convicted of defrauding the Social Security Administration was sentenced Wednesday to three years of probation.

Edwin N. Harris, 46, pleaded guilty to two felony counts: concealing income and making false statements of material facts to his entitlement to benefits.

U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Torresen ordered during a Zoom videoconference that Harris repay the federal agency more than $17,000 in restitution, which represents an overpayment by the Social Security Administration between January 2012 and June 2016.

Harris appeared on camera from his home.

He had been collecting benefits from Social Security Disability Insurance as well as Supplemental Security Income when he entered into an agreement in 2016 to sell his company, Family Motors, which owned business equipment as well as inventory.

According to court documents, Harris submitted eligibility forms for Social Security Income benefits that denied he owned business or personal equipment or property not declared elsewhere on the forms and that since March 2014, he hadn’t sold, transferred title or disposed of any money or property.

“He had made these misrepresentations because he knew this information could affect his eligibility to receive SSI benefits,” according to prosecutors.

Harris also bought a camping property in November 2014 and owned two recreational vehicle campers that he failed to report to the Social Security Administration before March 2016 “because he knew it could affect his eligibility to receive benefits,” prosecutors wrote in court papers.

Harris had also been facing up to six months of incarceration, but both his defense attorney and prosecutors recommended probation only.

Defense attorney Heather Gonzales had argued for two years instead of three, saying probation itself presented a “significant loss of freedom” for Harris.

He suffers from “profound” anxiety and neither reads nor writes, she said in a sentencing memorandum.

Harris has had a “hard life,” and a “tumultuous upbringing,” Gonzales said.

He never knew his father; he was neglected by his alcoholic mother, who lived with her mother until their house burned down when Harris was about 10 years old.

Harris and his sister moved into the home of their mother’s boyfriend, who was “cruel and physically abusive,” Gonzales wrote, sometimes burning the boy’s toys in front of him.

After moving to Lewiston, his mother supported her drinking by having Harris and his sister sell their food stamps, leaving them hungry, and the utilities unpaid, Gonzales said.

He started suffering from panic attacks and, when he was 17, his mother left him and his sister to “fend for themselves,” Gonzales said.

To earn money, Harris would collect various items from a junkyard and either restore them and sell them or sell the scrap metal.

“The tediousness of stripping and sorting metal soothed his anxiety and continues to do so to this day,” Gonzales wrote in court papers.

Several people wrote letters to the judge as testimonials to Harris’ good character, including a police detective, his wife and his stepdaughter. She wrote that he raised her from age 16 months, attended all of her school functions and encouraged her to go to college.

“He made sure there was food on the table, even when times got tough,” she wrote.

Gonzales wrote: “Indeed, Mr. Harris is a good person and positive member of society who did a dishonest thing and he is entirely remorseful.”

Harris told the judge Wednesday he was sorry.

“I’ll do my best to pay back all the money,” he said. “I regret not doing things the right way.”

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