A 50-year-old Army veteran lied about having an eye disease in order to get $800,000 in fraudulent benefits and grants from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which he used to buy a swimming pool and a car, a federal court jury in Virginia decided Tuesday.
The jury found the Kentucky vet guilty of defrauding the VA from 1995 to 2006 by claiming his diagnosis of a genetic degenerative eye disease was far worse than it was in order to get maximum disability benefits, according to the Department of Justice.
Henderson had a Kentucky driver’s license and drove himself, but he received $697,000 in disability compensation and an $11,000 grant for a car so someone else could supposedly drive him around town.
The VA also gave him a $10,000 grant towards the installation of an in-ground swimming pool “intended for his exercise and to maintain his well-being as a blind veteran,” according to the DOJ.
Henderson took the maximum health care benefits for himself and his family, and the VA gave him highest priority for treatment. Henderson enjoyed free medical and dental services, free pharmaceutical subscriptions, and reimbursement for travel to and from medical appointments.
He also received free canes, computers, blind-friendly phones and night vision goggles, for a total of $75,000 in fraudulent health care benefits, the DOJ said.
Henderson faces up to 10 years in federal prison, restitution for everything he took, and fines up to twice the amount his conduct cost the government.
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