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June 06--Probation in health insurance case
Senior U.S. District Judge Richard P. Conaboy sentenced a former Middle Smithfield Twp. supervisor Wednesday to two years' probation, including four months' home confinement, for falsely claiming his girlfriend was his wife so she could receive health insurance from the Monroe County Twp.
The judge also ordered Robert Spano, 64, to pay $24,488 in restitution and a $500 fine, and to perform 50 hours of community service.?
A federal grand jury indicted Mr. Spano in November 2011, on a charge of making a false statement regarding a health care matter. The indictment stemmed from an investigation that revealed he had illegally listed his then girlfriend, Christina Brown, as his wife on the borough's health insurance forms, allowing her to receive coverage from November 2007 to 2010.
Federal sentencing guidelines called for a sentence of four to 10 months in prison. His attorney, Glenn Goodge of Allentown, asked Judge Conaboy to impose a lesser sentence based on Mr. Spano's history of assisting people in the community. He also noted Mr. Spano took the action to help his girlfriend, who lost her insurance coverage after becoming unemployed.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert O'Hara sought a sentence within the guideline range, noting Mr. Spano abused his position and betrayed the public's trust.
"Mr. Spano was a public officeholder in a small town," Mr. O'Hara said. "With that power of public office comes a great responsibility to the public. ... There should be consequences for people who try to manipulate the health care system, regardless of what their intentions were."
Judge Conaboy opted to issue the probationary sentence after reviewing all information regarding the case and Mr. Spano's background.
"There seems to be two distinct sides to your life. You did a lot of good in the community ... but I also have to consider you broke the law," the judge said.
The restitution order requires Mr. Spano to reimburse $23,766 to Middle Smithfield Twp. for the cost of health care premiums; $513 to United Concordia for dental insurance and $209 to Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania for health insurance.
Contact the writer: tbesecker@ timesshamrock.com
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