Scott Kennedy, 52, allegedly stole the benefits intended for a woman in her 70s.
Scott Kennedy, 52, a former Maine Department of Labor employee, pleaded not guilty to theft by deception at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor on Thursday. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

A former Maine Department of Labor employee denied Thursday that he stole more than $10,000 in unemployment benefits in 2020 intended for a woman in her 70s.

Scott Kennedy, 52, of Bangor pleaded not guilty to theft by deception, a Class B crime, and official oppression, a Class E crime. He was indicted in September by the Penobscot County grand jury.

The oppression charge alleges that he was acting in an official capacity as a state employee when he diverted the money for his own use.

Superior Court Justice Bruce Mallonee allowed Kennedy to be on personal recognizance bail with the condition that he not contact the woman whose name he used to receive the funds.

Kennedy allegedly lied about the woman’s employment status, saying that she had worked full time when she had only worked part time. He received the benefits, including the extra $600 in federal funds provided by Congress at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, from July 23, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2020, according to the indictment.

The exact amount of money Kennedy allegedly received illegally has not been made public.

He is next due in court on Feb. 14.

If convicted, Kennedy faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000. He also could be ordered to pay restitution to the state. On the official oppression charge, he faces up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.