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A Sheridan, Wyo., woman Tuesday denied federal charges that she stole welfare benefits in Montana.

Lynn Ann Gardipee, also known as Lynn Stefani and Lynn Phillips, pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging her with theft of federal property by fraud and welfare assistance fraud during an arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn Ostby in Billings.

The indictment alleges that from October 2001 until December 2007 in Billings and Bozeman, Gardipee used false information to get food stamps, temporary aid to needy families and Medicaid benefits to which she was not entitled. She also is alleged to have underreported income and to have hidden the identity of employers.

Gardipee faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the theft count and a maximum of five years and a $250,000 fine on the welfare assistance fraud count.

Ostby continued Gardipee's release pending trial. The case will be heard by Senior U.S. District Judge Jack Shanstrom.

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