Most people might want to change the year they were born to make them younger in age not older. But not so for retired Petty Officer William Joe Westfall, who changed his date of birth from 1949 to 1941 to receive government benefits he wasn’t eligible for. It started in 2010, when knowing he was born in 1949 Westfall filed for Medicare benefits stating that he was born in 1941. Based on this false information, U.S. agencies determined that Westfall was eligible for not only Medicare but Social Security benefits. For the next twelve years, Westfall collected more than $44,000 in fraudulent Medicare benefits and $144,00 in fraudulent Social Security benefits. Fraud was so good to Westfall; he went for more.
Westfall had been a computer technician for the US Navy from July 1972 to July 1978. In 2011, he applied for Veterans Health Administration medical benefits. In support of his application, Westfall submitted fraudulent military discharge document to establish eligibility based on prior service in Vietnam. The form, called a DD-214, claimed Westfall was a diver, had suffered hearing loss because of his Vietnam tour, and been exposed to Agent Orange. He also reiterated his date of birth as 1941. However, like his date of birth, Westfall’s claim to action in the Vietnam wars were false. Westfall hadn’t ever visited Vietnam in his life. In total, Westfall received over $331,000 in Veteran Benefits Administration benefits and Veterans Health Administration benefits to which he was not entitled.
Westfall must have had some travel plans with his easy money or maybe at least get all his documents with the same page. In February of 2016 Westfall applied for a U.S. Passport and falsely stated that again his birth year was 1941. The passport was issued with the false birth year!
Eventually all claims get checked out, and in 2021 agents interviewed Westfall and found issues. On April 4, 2022, Westfall entered guilty pleas to charges of passport fraud and health care and social security fraud for both civilian and veteran benefits. He will pay more than $518,000 in restitution and faces up to 10 years in jail.
Excellent job by both the VA and SSA Office of Inspector General branches in working together stop Westfall from further fraud.
Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article posted in the Anchorage Daily News, on April 4, 2022
Anchorage man to repay more than $500,000 for federal fraud charges including false claims of military service
A 72-year-old Anchorage man will pay more than $500,000 in restitution in a plea deal over fraud charges accusing him of lying about his birth year and serving in Vietnam to get benefits.
William Joe Westfall entered guilty pleas to charges of passport fraud, health care benefits fraud, false statements related to health care benefits and Social Security benefits fraud, according to a plea agreement last month