BANGOR, Maine — An Exeter man was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court to three years and five months in federal prison for his role in a 2012 Guilford pharmacy robbery and lying to obtain disability benefits.
Clifford John Sprague, 37, also was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay more than $18,000 in restitution, with nearly $5,200 to be paid to Rite Aid for the pharmacy robbery and the rest to Social Security Disability Insurance.
He pleaded guilty in September to one count each of being an accessory after the fact to the March 10, 2012, pharmacy robbery in Guilford and making fraudulent statements to obtain Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.
In a separate case, Sprague has been held without bail on state charges since June 2012 for his role in a smash-and-grab burglary at a Corinth store. He pleaded no contest in March 2013 to arson, burglary, aggravated criminal mischief and theft for his role in the A.E. Robinson break-in.
He is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday at the Penobscot Judicial Center on those charges.
Sprague’s sentencing agreement with the Penobscot County district attorney’s office calls for the prosecution to recommend a sentence of 12 years. His attorney will be free to argue for a lesser sentence.
By pleading guilty to the aiding and abetting charge, Sprague admitted that he picked up Michael Thompson, 28, of Levant after Thompson robbed the pharmacy in Guilford.
Thompson was sentenced in June 2015 to six years and 10 months in federal prison for robbing the pharmacy at knifepoint, then fleeing in a mail truck.
“After the robbery, Thompson called Sprague, told him that he had robbed the pharmacy and asked Sprague to pick him up in his car,” according to a previously published report. “Sprague did so. Shortly after picking up Thompson, Sprague saw a Somerset County Sheriff’s Office vehicle. Sprague slowed down his vehicle and told Thompson he needed to get out.”
Thompson fled into the woods but left some of the stolen narcotics behind, according to court documents. Sprague used and sold some of them.
Later, Thompson fled to Florida but was arrested in 2014, when he returned to Maine, according to a previously published report. He is incarcerated at a federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons inmate locator website.
By pleading guilty to the fraud charge, Sprague admitted that he fraudulently received nearly $13,000 in disability benefits between March 2011 and March 2012 for himself and his three dependent children. He also had Rosemary Peterson, 30, of Bangor tell Social Security employees that Sprague did not work outside the home and required someone to clean, bathe, dress and cook for him, according to court documents.
That was not true, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. Sprague did a significant amount of work outside the house, including working as a scrap metal dealer, carpenter and woodcutter.
Peterson pleaded guilty in May to the same fraud charge Sprague did. She was sentenced in November in federal court in Bangor to three years of probation and ordered to pay $11,874 in restitution
Sprague and Peterson faced up to five years in federal prison on the fraud count. Sprague faced up to 10 years in federal prison for assisting Thompson after the pharmacy robbery. On each count, the defendants faced a fine of up to $250,000.
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