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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Former state employee pleads guilty to stealing from federal aid programs

A former state health department employee pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing nearly $90,000 in federal assistance by approving fake paperwork.

Heather Marie Bugni of Butte faces a maximum 10 year sentence and a $250,000 fine, according to a news release from the Montana U.S. Attorney’s Office. A sentencing hearing is set for Feb. 1.

In her job, Bugni processed and approved applications for assistance programs like SNAP and Medicaid, which help low-income and disabled residents get groceries and healthcare. She falsified documents to qualify family members for tens of thousands of dollars in benefits.

Bugni worked for the department from October 2015 to July 2021. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation that led to her arrest.

Shaylee covers state government and politics for Montana Public Radio. Please share tips, questions and concerns at 406-539-1677 or  
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