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Leominster woman sentenced after stealing Social Security, Veterans Affairs benefits

A Leominster woman was sentenced in a Worcester federal court Friday for stealing more than $300,000 in Social Security and Veterans Affairs benefits, the US Attorney’s Office said.

Joyce Progin, 71, began collecting her father-in-law’s monthly retirement benefits after he died in November 2009, authorities said. Neither the US Social Security Administration nor the Department of Veterans Affairs was informed of the father-in-law’s death. Progin, who admitted she knew she was not entitled to the money, continued to receive payments in a bank account she held jointly with her father-in-law.

Progin, who was arrested in January, received about $55,267 in Social Security benefits and about $269,978 in VA benefits, officials said. She pleaded guilty to stealing public funds and was sentenced to time served in custody and three years of supervised release. She was ordered to pay the government $325,245.

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Abigail Feldman can be reached at abigail.feldman@globe.com.