Good for What Ails You

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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a tax-free monetary benefit to veterans who are disabled as a result of their service to the military. Eligible veterans can receive anywhere from $133 to more than $3,300 per month, based on their level of disability and number of dependents. A veteran living in Tennessee received nearly $150,000 in compensation from the VA by claiming he was disabled. (As you might guess, he wasn’t telling the truth about his disability and should have never received the benefits.)

While being interviewed by a special agent with the VA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), the man stated that the medicine he took for his medical condition rendered him disabled, leaving him unable to work. (At the time of the interview, the man was actually working full-time while receiving 100 percent disability payments.)

About three years after that interview, a VA physician determined that the man did not have the debilitating medical condition he claimed to have. He later admitted to not taking the prescribed medication. (The VA promptly terminated his disability payments.) In the meantime, the deceptive man received $148,000 in benefits he did not deserve.

During a plea hearing, the 46-year-old man pleaded guilty to making false statements to a federal agent. He also confessed that he lied about his condition and employment status in order to keep receiving disability benefit payments from the VA.

When sentenced, this fraudster will face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for stealing benefits that were designated for veterans who truly deserved them. (At this point, you can only guess what the outcome will be on his sentencing date, but I’d bet that the justice system will prescribe a sentence that will be good for what ails him. Let’s just say that he may need more than a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”Murfreesboro Navy Veteran pleads guilty in disability fraud case,” posted on on October 17, 2016.

Edmond Deslatte, 46, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., pleaded guilty Friday to making a false statement to a federal agent in connection with an investigation into his disability benefits payments, announced David Rivera, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.

During a plea hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Aleta A. Trauger, Deslatte admitted making a false statement during an April 2011 interview with a special agent with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) Office of Inspector General (“OIG”). At the time of the April 2011 interview, Deslatte was receiving 100% disability benefit payments from the VA, although he had been working full-time. At his plea hearing, Deslatte admitted that, during his April 2011 interview, he falsely represented to the VA-OIG agent that medication prescribed for his medical condition had rendered him disabled and unable to work. Deslatte further admitted that he had not been taking the medication as he had represented to the VA-OIG agent.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.