Gahanna Woman Pleads Guilty to Illegally Receiving VA Benefits
COLUMBUS, OH—Rita Green, 55, of Gahanna, Ohio, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to theft of public money by illegally receiving Department of Veterans Affairs Dependency Indemnity Compensation benefits.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Gavin McClaren, Resident Agent in Charge, Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG), Cleveland, Ohio, and Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Field Division, announced the plea entered into today before U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley.
According to court documents, Green kept $89,646.22 of Department of Veterans Affairs Dependency Indemnity Compensation benefits to which she knew she was not entitled. Green’s mother was a recipient of the benefits, which are paid to surviving spouses of veterans who died in the line of duty or died from a disease or injury incurred or aggravated while on active duty. Those benefits were paid monthly to a bank account in the mother’s name.
Green’s mother died in 2009 but the VA, unaware of her death, continued depositing money into her account. Green kept the account open and converted this money to her own use by withdrawing funds and making purchases using a debit card in her mother’s name. Green also failed to disclose these VA payments on a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) submitted in 2012.
Theft of public money is a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the investigation of this case by the VA-OIG and the FBI, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Glenn-Applegate, who is prosecuting the case.