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Restore Norwalk organizer guilty of fraud

Zoe Greszler • Jun 8, 2018 at 7:22 PM

A local woman and organizer of a local non-profit organization pleaded guilty to fraud and has been ordered to pay nearly $24,000 in restitution. 

Stephanie Spencer, of 88 Milan Ave., organized the local non-profit organization Restore Norwalk, which has worked to offer opportunities and activities, giving people things to do to “keep them off the streets and away from drugs.”

On Oct. 17, Spencer was indicted on charges of Medicaid fraud, a charge to which she pleaded not guilty on Oct. 25, according to Franklin County Common Please Court reports. Records showed evidence against Spencer included 27 investigative reports.

Her case was scheduled to go to trial, and four of the 11 witnesses lined up to testify were from Norwalk.

However, Spencer accepted a plea bargain that lessened the charge from a fourth-degree felony to a fifth-degree felony. On March 5, she pleaded guilty to medicaid fraud and two days later was sentenced to five years of community control, a form of probation, and was ordered to pay a restitution of $23,787.72 to the Department of Medicaid. 

The Reflector became aware of the criminal case through an anonymous tipster. 

When asked about the case, Spencer said she was “not admitting to anything,” but said “it’s sad something like this” would effect the Restore Norwalk organization.

“I can’t believe you guys will put this out there,” she told the Reflector. “It’s a shame that everything that’s been done, when all these people (the new Restore Norwalk board members) are taking over, that they’re going to have to deal with this.”

Spencer said she knew the tipster’s identity and said she just filed charges against him.

“This is happening because this person feels the need to try and ruin things because I just filed charges against him for touching my daughter,” she said.

Without knowing the identity of the tipster, the Reflector was unable to verify the claim. 

Spencer, who formerly led the Restore Norwalk, said she stepped down from the organization’s board two weeks ago.

“I’m no longer part of Restore Norwalk,” she said. “I stepped down and it’s all new board members. ... I stepped down because I’m not experienced and they’re much more experienced with getting grants and things like that.”

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