65746451 - profession, people, healthcare, medicare and medicine concept - close up of happy medics or doctors pointing finger at hospital corridor

When someone from the armed forces commits a criminal act or behaves in a morally unacceptable manner, they can receive a dishonorable discharge. A Charleston, West Virginia man, who claimed to be a Navy veteran, was recently convicted of healthcare fraud because he really wasn’t a veteran, but collected benefits as if he were. Since he could not receive a dishonorable discharge for his illegal behavior, he’ll be serving time behind federal prison bars instead.

When the West Virginia man committed this egregious crime, he stole from veterans who sacrificed much to serve their nation. He also stole precious time with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors and staff members from those who deserved their medical services. (And, let’s not forget the American taxpayers who contributed to those benefits as well.)

The fraudster from Charleston must have been quite the storyteller. His scam started off with a falsified Department of Defense (DOD) form. He claimed to have served in the Navy during the Vietnam War for a little over four years as a combat medic. (Apparently, he suffered from wounds and other trauma.) He also stated that he had earned two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star. (The real truth is that he never saw any action during Vietnam because he was not in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.)

The fraudster’s claims of false entitlement enabled him to scam the VA out of $197,237 in healthcare benefits. You might not be surprised to learn that this was his second scheme to defraud the agency. While previously living in Connecticut, he claimed benefits as a veteran, but he was caught, prosecuted and put in a pretrial diversion. That means that if a defendant successfully completes a court-supervised program, charges can be dismissed and records erased. (Well, I guess this criminal was slick and slipped past the system and on to another crime.) Seven years later, he moved to Charleston and tried to replicate the scam.

The 71-year-old man from Charleston, West Virginia was convicted of healthcare fraud for the second time and won’t be given the option of participating in a pretrial diversion again. While he was facing a decade behind bars, it looks like he will only have to serve six months in federal prison to be followed by six months of confinement. He asked the judge for leniency citing his age and poor health. The fraudster got a break in terms of time in prison, but not when it came to the $297,237 restitution bill. (That ought to make up for this dishonorable man who was neither brave, nor cared much about defending his country – only stealing from it.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Charleston man who claimed to be veteran and defrauded the VA is sentenced,” published by The Post and Courier on November 21, 2018.

A Charleston man who falsely claimed to be a combat veteran and scammed the Department of Veterans Affairs out of nearly $200,000 in benefits has been sentenced.

Keith R. Hudson, 71, will serve six months in federal prison and six months of home confinement, Sherri Lydon, U.S. attorney for South Carolina, announced Wednesday.

Previous articleNeeds vs. Wants
Next articleCookie Jar

Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.