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Cambridge woman, 45, allegedly stole $85,000 in government benefits over 9-year period, prosecutors say

A Cambridge woman is facing federal charges for allegedly stealing more than $85,000 in government benefits over a nine-year period, according to prosecutors and court records.

The defendant, Phaedra M. Sheets, 45, pleaded not guilty Friday in US District Court in Boston to two counts of theft of government money, according to legal filings. Her public defender didn’t immediately return an e-mail seeking comment.

Sheets is accused of stealing approximately $71,636 in Social Security benefits between 2009 and 2018, as well as $13,923 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, according to US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling’s office. Details of the alleged thefts weren’t available Monday.

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During Sheets’s arraignment Friday, Magistrate Judge M. Page Kelley released her on conditions including that she remain in Massachusetts while the case is pending, participate in mental health treatment as directed and comply with all rules of the program, and refrain from drug use and submit to testing, records show.

Her next court hearing is scheduled for April 6.

“The charge of theft of public funds provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater,” Lelling’s office said in a statement. “Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.”




Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.