By Debbie Gregory.
A 60-year-old Florida woman was sentenced to nine months in prison and ordered to pay back $394,800.85 in restitution after pleading guilty to fraudulently claiming she was blind in order to receive veteran’s benefits. The sentence was announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida
Veronica Dale Hahn lied from November 2001 to February 2016 about being rendered blind in both eyes, which she claimed to be service related.
But less than a year after receiving her disability benefits for vision loss, she obtained driver’s licenses in Alabama, Florida and New Mexico all without any vision restrictions.
In addition to passing the vision exams she was also seen driving her personal automobile on numerous occasions. She was also able to perform work as a case manager and transition counselor at several state correctional facilities.
“Instead of providing benefits and assistance to worthy veterans who are justifiably in need, significant resources from the Department of Veterans Affairs were diverted to uncover an extensive and persistent fraud by Ms. Hahn, who repeatedly gave dishonest information and collected hundreds of thousands of dollars to which she was not entitled,” said Canova. “This case sends the message that you cannot make false disability claims and just walk away from such a crime.”
Monty Stokes, the Special Agent in Charge from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General said that this sentencing was the result of a successful multiyear investigation. “VA Disability Compensation Benefits are intended to provide for veterans with injuries or diseases related to their military service. Because of the successful investigative and prosecutive efforts of the VA OIG and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Veronica Hahn’s greed and deception will not go unchecked.”