Six individuals who pleaded guilty to knowingly and willfully submitting a total of 464 false claims for travel to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) were sentenced to serve a total of 26 months in prison, four years of federal probation, 15 years of federal supervised release, 300 hours of community service, restitution of $24,581 and assessments of $600.
The six individuals sentenced include: William Anderson, 59, of Knoxville, Tenn.; Georgia Adkins, 40, of Johnson City, Tenn.; David Bell, 54, of Jonesborough, Tenn.; Frederick Deer, 52, of Johnson City, Tenn.; Elliott Harris, 51, of Knoxville, Tenn. and Matthew Lewandowski, 26, of Johnson City, Tenn.
The VA provides travel assistance to qualified veterans who travel outside their communities to receive health care benefits. Individuals who abuse the benefit by submitting false information to the DVA diminish resources which could be available to qualified veterans.
“The costs of providing medical care for our veterans should never be increased due to false claims submitted by those who would defraud the federal government,” said U.S. Attorney Bill Killian. “These convictions are notice to those who would consider defrauding the Department of Veterans Affairs, that appropriate penalties await criminal conduct,” he added.
Monty Stokes, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General (VA OIG), said, “We are committed to thoroughly investigating allegations of fraud against VA programs and resources to ensure veterans are afforded the legitimate benefits they have earned. These convictions reflect the successful cooperation and dedication of the VA OIG, VA Police and the Department of Justice to bring frauds to justice.”
These indictments and subsequent convictions were the result of an investigation conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, Nashville Resident Agency and VA Police Service of Mountain Home, Tenn. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas Regalia and Helen Smith represented the United States.