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Press Release

Rhode Island Woman Pleads Guilty to Stealing Public Funds

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – A Rhode Island woman, formerly of North Easton, pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston to stealing approximately $74,000 in Veteran Affairs (VA) and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) benefits from a veteran she was supposed to be protecting.   

Lisa Heino, 55, of Newport, R.I., pleaded guilty to two counts of theft of public funds. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock scheduled sentencing for Dec. 2, 2022. Heino was charged on June 1, 2022.

In May 2014, Heino was appointed by the Massachusetts state court to serve as the conservator for the victim who was a veteran and retired federal employee. Later, in October 2014, Heino became the OPM representative payee for the victim as well. As a court appointed conservator and representative payee, Heino had access to the federal VA and OPM monthly benefit payments that were directly deposited into the victim’s bank account. In this capacity, Heino transferred federal VA and OPM benefit payments from the victim’s bank account to her own bank account and used the funds for her own expenses. Specifically, from in or about June 2017 through August 2018, Heino stole or converted approximately $44,191 in VA funds she was not entitled to for her own use. Additionally, from in or about January 2017 through January 2019, Heino stole or converted approximately $29,853 in OPM funds she was not entitled to for her own use.

After Heino was removed as conservator in 2017 and representative payee in 2019, she continued to access the victim’s bank account and federal benefits. When interviewed by authorities, Heino admitted to withdrawing the benefit payments from the victim’s bank account and depositing the funds into her own account for her personal use while serving as conservator and representative payee.

The charges of theft of government funds each provide for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Christopher Algieri, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, Northeast Field Office; and Scott A. Rezendes, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Personnel Management, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Sullivan Jacobus of Rollins’ Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.

Updated August 3, 2022