Showing posts with label VA fraud. Show all posts
Showing posts with label VA fraud. Show all posts

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Georgia man sentenced for stealing 100 disabled veterans and Social Security beneficiaries

Man sentenced for stealing veteran, Social Security benefits

A Georgia man has been sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison in South Florida for his part in running a scheme to steal more than $1.8 million in veteran and Social Security benefits
By The Associated Press
March 4, 2022
From 2012 to 2017, Green and others attempted to redirect more than $1.8 million in benefits from more than 100 disabled veterans and Social Security beneficiaries, officials said. The scheme resulted in the actual loss of nearly $1 million although the federal government reimbursed the victims for the full amounts of their stolen benefits.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A Georgia man has been sentenced to six and a half years in prison in South Florida for his part in running a scheme to steal more than $1.8 million in veteran and Social Security benefits.

Ronaldo Garfield Green, 29, was sentenced Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale federal court, according to court records. A federal jury found him guilty in November to conspiracy to commit fraud. He must also pay $915,000 in restitution.
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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Man charged with trying to sell $750 million in “nonexistent respirator masks” to the VA!

Georgia Man Allegedly Tried To Sell $750M in Nonexistent Masks To Veterans Affairs

By Aaron Boyd
Senior Editor, Nextgov
APRIL 13, 2020

The man tried the same scheme on state governments, according to prosecutors.

Federal agencies are cracking down on coronavirus-related fraud, including schemes targeting government agencies.

On Friday, the Justice Department announced charges against a 39-year-old Georgia man for allegedly trying to sell more than $750 million in “nonexistent respirator masks” to the Veterans Affairs Department.

According to a release announcing the charges, Christopher Parris, of Atlanta, told VA he could source 125 million face masks and other personal protective equipment, or PPE, despite allegedly knowing he could not deliver.

“For example, the complaint alleges that Parris promised that he could obtain millions of genuine 3M masks from domestic factories when he knew that fulfilling the orders would not be possible,” the release states. “Parris also allegedly made similar false representations to other entities in an effort to enter into other fraudulent agreements to sell PPE to state governments.”

Parris was charged with wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
read it here

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Denver man found guilty taking $19 million meant for Veterans, children with birth defects

Aurora Man Guilty Of Misdirecting $19 Million Meant For Veterans, Children With Birth Defects

CBS News Denver
March 14, 2020
“To steal from a program that is intended to help our veterans and their children who suffer from serious medical conditions is reprehensible,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn. “Mr. Prince was also harming the American taxpayers and will now pay a significant price for his actions.”

Prince’s strategy netted nearly $19 million in payments from the Veterans Administration in little more than a year, according to prosecutors.

DENVER (CBS4) — A jury on Thursday found Joseph Prince, 60, of Aurora, guilty of felony health care fraud, conspiracy, money laundering, and payment of illegal kickbacks — crimes that were committed during his employment at a call center. Prince’s tactics misdirected funds that were intended for veterans with children suffering from birth defects, according to the court documents.

The jury reached its verdict in Denver federal court after an eight-day trial.
In the federal indictment, investigators described how Prince, a VA call center employee in Denver, set up fake home health agencies, then convinced unknowing beneficiaries to submit invoices for services to those unapproved agencies.

Those fake agencies were run by Prince’s wife, brother-in-law, half-sister and friends.

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Saturday, February 29, 2020

Man gets 110 years for killing disabled veteran and stealing VA benefits

Montana man gets 110 years for killing disabled veteran

FEBRUARY 28, 2020
“You are barbarians, both of you,” Lori Petzack said to Craft and Zdeb during the sentencing hearing. “My son fought for your freedom and independence for four years in the U.S. Army. He received a frontal lobe traumatic brain injury in Mosul, Iraq, from an IED which fully disabled him for the rest of his life, which you both took away.”
A Montana man who was convicted of killing a disabled veteran in February 2016, burying his body in the dirt floor of a barn and stealing his disability benefits was sentenced on Friday to 110 years in prison.

Brandon Craft, 25, of Great Falls, will not be eligible for parole until he serves 50 years, District Judge Elizabeth Best ruled.

Craft's ex-wife Katelyn Zdeb, 25, pleaded guilty in April 2018 to stealing Adam Petzack's Veterans Affairs benefits for several months after his death. She testified against Craft at his trial in November and was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison with no time suspended.
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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Caldwell University has agreed to pay $4.8 million for defrauding veterans program

Caldwell University to pay $4.8M for defrauding veterans program

New Jersey Business
By: David Hutter
January 6, 2020

Caldwell University entered into an agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey to resolve an investigation dating back to 2013, according to Caldwell and the United States Attorney’s Office.

Between 2009 and 2013, Caldwell College had a contractual relationship with Ed4Mil, a company that provided on-line training courses to veterans in conjunction with Caldwell, Caldwell spokeswoman Colette Liddy told NJBIZ.

Unbeknownst to Caldwell’s board and cabinet, Ed4Mil personnel and a college employee engaged in a scheme to defraud the government, Liddy said. The college employee separated from employment with Caldwell before the scheme was discovered. A number of people from Ed4Mil, including its principal, and the former Caldwell employee have pleaded guilty to criminal charges, she said.

Liddy said the board of trustees and the cabinet of Caldwell University have denounced this conduct and along with the administration are truly sorry for what occurred. Caldwell University cooperated with the government throughout its investigation, she said.

“Caldwell has been committed to making restitution to the United States on behalf of the veterans of our country by returning all of the money that the University was paid under the Ed4Mil contract,” Liddy said. “To that end, as part of the agreement with the United States Attorney, Caldwell has agreed to pay $4.8 million, representing the funds Caldwell received under the contract with Ed4Mil. Since becoming aware of the misconduct in August 2013, Caldwell University has developed new policies and procedures to ensure that this type of conduct will not happen again.”

From Jan. 1, 2011, through Aug. 8, 2013, Caldwell University submitted false claims for payment to the Department of Veterans Affairs in order to receive education benefits and funds pursuant to the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act (Post 9/11 GI Bill) to which it was not entitled, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said. He also stated that the post 9/11 GI bill was designed specifically to help veterans who served in the armed forces after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
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Thursday, December 19, 2019

Caught ripping off the VA

Two creeps ripped off VA...and disabled veterans

In a media release, prosecutors said Francis Engles, 63, owned and operated Engles Security Training School. In 2015, the school became a vendor for the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program, according to the release, promising veterans months-long courses totaling 600 hours....Prosecutors said he also had veterans sign attendance sheets for classes they did not attend and submitted letters to the department falsely stating that veterans were employed by his private security business. The VA paid him $337,960 to educate veterans.
Capital Gazette

In a news release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California said Peter Wong, 61, the founder of Sunrise Shoes and Pedorthic Service, a longtime specialized orthopedic shoe and prosthetic store, was found guilty in May of health care fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Wong and Anthony Lazzarino, 69, the former chief of podiatry for the VA’s Northern California health care system, were charged in 2016 with billing the VA for custom products that were prescribed but never supplied to veterans between 2008 and 2015...Their grand jury indictment said they billed the VA nearly $1.7 million worth of shoes, some costing $1,682 per pair, but veterans didn’t get the specialized footwear and instead received shoes straight off the shelves from Sunrise Shoes. Sacramento Bee

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Brother convicted of stealing over $300,000 from disabled veteran

Man who spent more than $300K of a disabled veteran’s benefits sentenced to 19 months in federal prison

FOX 43 News
APRIL 16, 2019
Ehrhart submitted eight false annual accountings to the VA to conceal the embezzlement.

HARRISBURG — A Thompsontown man who spent $316,360 of a disabled veteran’s VA and Social Security benefits after becoming the veteran’s VA Fiduciary and Legal Custodian in 2006 was sentenced Monday to 19 months in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of PA.

Jason Ehrhart, 48, also must pay that total in restitution to his nephew (the veteran’s son). The veteran died at the VA Hospital in Lebanon in July 2018.
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Saturday, July 28, 2018

Stolen Valor: Miserable excuse to abuse heroes

Man who pretended to be a decorated veteran sentenced
WPTV Webteam
Tory Dunnan
Jul 27, 2018
"My actions, which I thought were for a good reason. To help my family overall," he said. "I've dishonored myself, my sons, my daughters, my family, my country, and veterans everywhere. For that, I am truly sorry," said Liroff who could barely get through a prepared statement.
ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. - ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. - A man in Port St. Lucie who pretended to be a veteran entered a no contest plea in court Friday.

For years, Edward Liroff told stories about his service saying he was shot twice in combat and that he pulled two soldiers out of a burning helicopter.

The ruse unraveled when tried to get a code enforcement job with the city and police say a document he used turned out to be falsified.

In court, a judge credited him with some of the time he has spent behind bars but he still must serve nine more months in jail.

Liroff apologized and said, "this wasn't his brightest moment."
Once he pays back all the money he received from veterans benefits, his one-year probation will be dropped.
read more here

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Veteran Going to Jail After Lying Way to Awards

Former soldier who lied his way to Purple Heart sentenced to three years in prison, ordered to repay $650,000 in stolen benefits
Associated Press 
June 2, 2017

SEATTLE - A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a former soldier who lied his way to a Purple Heart to three years in prison and ordered him to repay nearly $650,000 in stolen government benefits.
Former National Guard soldier Darryl Lee Wright leaves a courtroom at the U.S. District Court in Tacoma, Wash., last year. (GENE JOHNSON/AP)
Darryl Wright, 48, a former Idaho National Guardsman, feigned injuries from an explosion in Iraq in 2005 and doctored statements from fellow soldiers to obtain two awards, a Combat Action Badge and a Purple Heart, which is reserved for those wounded in action.

The Army has since revoked the awards, though Wright still has the medals.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud last year. Prosecutors were seeking a prison term of five years, and they wanted the judge to order Wright to return the medals and a Purple Heart license plate.
read more here

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Stolen Valor Perpetrators Found Guilty and Despicable!

Army veteran sentenced for lying to get nearly $395K from VA
By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
May 02, 2017

Florida woman claimed she lost her vision due to her military service

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Florida veteran is sentenced to federal prison for lying for years about being blind and collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Sixty-year-old Veronica Dale Hahn of Bonifay, Florida, received nearly $395,000 from VA for 100 percent service-connected blindness in both eyes. Over 15 years -- from 2001 to 2016 -- the Army veteran told doctors she was almost completely blind.

However, within a year of receiving her disability benefits for loss of vision, investigators say Hahn got driver’s licenses with no vision restrictions in New Mexico, Alabama, and Florida -- passing vision exams in all three states with at least 20/40 vision.

During this time, Hahn was observed driving her personal vehicle on numerous occasions and she worked full time as a case manager and transition counselor at several state correctional facilities. All of these activities required normal eyesight to perform her duties.

“Instead of providing benefits and assistance to worthy veterans who are justifiably in need, significant resources from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs were diverted to uncover an extensive and persistent fraud by Ms. Hahn, who repeatedly gave dishonest information and collected hundreds of thousands of dollars to which she was not entitled," said Christopher Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida. This case sends the message that you cannot make false disability claims and just walk away from such a crime.”
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Purple Heart faker gets VA benefits, free house by stealing another Marine's combat story
San Diego Union Tribune
Jeanette Steele Jeanette SteeleContact Reporter
May 2, 2017
“This scumbag lied to try to get s—t. You don’t do that. It’s not honorable. It’s not how we are. It’s personal for me, especially, as a friend of Casey’s,” said Andrew Rothman, a 1/7 Navy corpsman who was a key player in exposing Blackstone’s fraud.

A former Southern California Marine has been handed a 21-month federal sentence for faking a Purple Heart and lifting from another Marine's combat story to get years of disability benefits and a free house.

In a rare prosecution under the 2013 Stolen Valor Act, a 35-year-old Iraq War veteran will also have to pay back more than $300,000 to the U.S. government and a Texas charity.

Brandon Blackstone served with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment out of Twentynine Palms in the Mojave Desert in 2004. He deployed to Iraq in August, during a period of fierce fighting on the Syrian border.

So did Casey Owens, another 1/7 Marine.
read more here

Former officer found guilty in Purple Heart case
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Raisa Habersham
May 2, 2017

A former Holly Springs police officer was found guilty Tuesday of falsely claiming he was a Purple Heart recipient four years after an investigation showed he lied about his military affiliation.

Shane Ladner of Canton was accused of claiming he earned the medal awarded for combat wounds and using the alleged honor to receive free license plates.

After five days of testimony and 13 hours of deliberation, the jury convicted him of five counts of making false statements to the Cherokee County sheriff’s office and the county’s tax commissioner to get the license plates. He was also convicted of a theft by taking charge.
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Colden couple admit $1.2 million fraud against VA, Postal Service
Buffalo News
By Phil Fairbanks
Published Wed, Mar 22, 2017

Richard L. Klaffka posed as a severely disabled veteran and postal worker.

He also pretended to be in a wheelchair, unable to walk, drive or care for himself.

Klaffka and his wife, Cathleen, both residents of Colden, admitted Wednesday it was all a hoax.

They also admitted netting $1.2 million in fraudulent benefits as part of their 10-year scheme.

'The defendant knew he wasn't 100 percent disabled and, in fact, knew he was mobile, able to care for himself without assistance," Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul E. Bonanno told the federal court Wednesday.

As part of his guilty plea to wire fraud, Klaffka agreed to pay $1.2 million in restitution and on Wednesday made an initial payment of $325,000. He also agreed to forfeit property he and his wife own in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

With Klaffka, who walks with a cane, standing just a few feet away, Bonanno read from a laundry list of evidence against him, including surveillance of his comings and goings at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Buffalo.

Federal agents claim they saw Klaffka drive to the VA, get out of the car and then lift and open his wheelchair without help. They said his wife would then push him into the offices at the medical center.

Bonnano said the government also had witnesses, including neighbors who were prepared to testify that they saw Klaffka hunting, riding a bicycle, chopping wood and playing horseshoes.
read more here

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Seven Charged in VA Construction Fraud in California

Senior VA official in Calif., 7 others charged in construction fraud
Associated Press
Published: April 8, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO — Federal prosecutors have charged a former high-ranking official in California's veterans affairs department and seven other people in an investigation of alleged bid rigging on public construction contracts, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Friday.

Prosecutors said the investigation that led to the indictment of Eric Worthen, a former assistant deputy secretary in the veterans affairs department, and the seven other defendants was prompted by an earlier probe that ensnared former California state Sen. Leland Yee and San Francisco Chinatown gang tough Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow.
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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

"Blind Veteran" Drove Car, Had Job and VA Comp Check?

Officials: Veteran faked blindness for 15 years, took home $400K in disability benefits
Jan. 24, 2017

A 60-year-old Florida woman has pleaded guilty to pretending to be blind for more than a decade to receive veterans disability benefits of nearly $400,000, investigators said.

Veronica Dale Hahn, of Bonifay, entered the guilty plea Friday in Panama City federal court.

Hahn is accused of convincing Veterans Health Administration staff and private doctors that her service-related injury caused nearly complete blindness in both eyes from 2001 to 2016, court documents say.
read more here

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Stolen Valor--Real Wounded Marine Committed Suicide

Former Marine steals dead combat veteran's valor
Tanya Eiserer
November 25, 2016

Casey Owens will always be a hero to his sister.

“There is the saying that all gave some, but some gave all,” says Lezleigh Owens Kleibrink of Trophy Club. “That was Casey.”

The Marine lost both legs when his Humvee hit an anti-tank mine in Iraq in 2004. For his bravery, he received the Purple Heart.

“Casey wasn't perfect but he stepped up,” she said. “That's what makes him a hero to me."

What really hurts her is knowing that a fellow Marine stole her late Casey's story of valor. It was Casey's fellow battle buddies who discovered Brandon Blackstone's web of deception.

“It took my breath away that someone would do something like that,” she says.

Blackstone recently pled guilty to felony counts related to the deception. He will be sentenced in February. He faces up to 21 years behind bars for his crimes.

For years, Blackstone had gone around the country talking about how he had been injured when a Humvee ran over a land mine. He claimed to have suffered a traumatic brain injury. He claimed he suffered leg and ankle injuries. He claimed he earned a Purple Heart.
read more here

Marine admits lying about combat injury in Iraq to get free house, VA benefits
The Dallas Morning News
By Kevin Krause
Published: November 22, 2016
“These were supposed to be your brothers, and you steal valor from one of your brothers?” said Kleibrink, who lives in Trophy Club. “My mom and I just feel so sad for this guy. For someone to do this, you are not a Marine.”
Lezleigh Kleibrink, with a photo of her late brother, Casey Owens, called Blackstone's deception "a slap in the face."
(David Woo/Staff Photographer)
They were two Marines from Texas in western Iraq, taking part in some of the worst fighting in the early stages of the insurgency.

Both left the battlefield early — and ended up with Purple Hearts. But one didn’t earn it.

Casey Owens was critically injured and lost his legs when his Humvee hit an anti-tank mine. He committed suicide in 2014 after a decade of suffering from numerous surgeries, brain injury and severe pain.

Brandon Blackstone went home after about a month, his military records show. His medic said he got appendicitis and did not return. The Arlington man ended up in a Dallas federal courtroom last month, where he pleaded guilty to two felonies for claiming he was “blown up” in a Humvee in Iraq in order to profit personally.
Blackstone said in an online biography that he had been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from Germany.
(Channel 4 News)
Owens’ Marine buddies say they believe Blackstone took key details of Owens’ combat injury and made them his own so he could bilk the government and charities out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
read more here

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Ex-Wife Gave Key Evidence to Convict Navy Veteran of VA Fraud

Jury: Blythewood man defrauded VA, Social Security of $1.5 million in claiming hyped-up MS disabilities 
The State
John Monk
January 22, 2106
The case is unusual in that such a large amount of alleged fraud – a combined $1.5 million in VA and Social Security benefits, mostly from the VA – by one person is seldom-rarely brought to trial or even investigated by the government.

Dennis Paulsen leaving court earlier
this week. John Monk The State
A federal jury on Friday found a Blythewood man guilty of stealing $1.5 million from the Veterans Administration and Social Security by falsely claiming for years that he suffered extreme impairments from multiple sclerosis.

While the man, Dennis Paulsen, 45, did in fact have multiple sclerosis, government prosecutors presented evidence during the six-day trial that Paulsen had for years led an active life that enabled him to claim some $9,400 a month in tax-free benefits instead of a far lesser amount.

The yearly tax-free income of some $112,000 from the VA and Social Security enabled Paulsen to live a nice life – unlike most people, Paulsen didn’t have a regular job – at his two-story home in Blythewood, which he shared for years with his now ex-wife, Kristine, and two sons.

Evidence presented during the trial showed that Paulsen had for years led a highly active life, playing multiple sports at a high level and even running in the Marine Corps Mud Run in 2008. On the last leg of that mud run, he picked up a stretcher with a person on it and lugged it to the finish line, evidence showed.
Key pieces of evidence were photos and writings from an Internet blog kept by Paulsen’s former wife, Kristine Paulsen, from about 2006-2011. During that time, Dennis Paulsen was receiving his major benefits.
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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Woman Pleads Guilty Taking VA Benefits of Dead Widow

Portland woman pleads guilty to receiving dead roommate’s veterans benefits
Press Herald
Scott Dolan
Staff Writer
January 8, 2016

Tammy J. McKenney, 49, held a joint account into which the benefits were deposited.

A Portland woman pleaded guilty Friday to a federal charge of stealing more than $25,000 in Veterans Administration benefits intended for her roommate after her roommate had died.

Tammy J. McKenney, 49, who also has a listed address in Gray, appeared before Judge D. Brock Hornby in U.S. District Court in Portland and waived her right to have the case against her presented to a grand jury.

McKenney and her friend, Barbara Winter, opened a joint bank account in September 2001. Winter received direct deposits from the Veterans Administration, which she began receiving as a spouse of a military veteran after her husband died in 1989, according to a prosecution document in court records.
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