16 veterans indicted for defrauding Dept. of Veteran's Affairs

16 veterans indicted for defrauding Dept. of Veteran's Affairs

NORTHEAST OHIO (WOIO) - A grand jury returned 16 separate indictments, each charging an individual with stealing from the United States related to the submission of false mileage statements for reimbursement, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Gavin McClaren, United States Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General, Resident Agent in Charge, Cleveland.

Each of the individuals submitted false claims for travel reimbursement to the Veterans Affairs Office, utilizing false or no-existent addresses representing a greater distance of travel than he or she had actually traveled.

"Theft from the public coffers will not be tolerated, whether it is a contractor inflating construction costs or citizens submitting false mileage reimbursements," Dettelbach said.

"This money should have been used for legitimate medical care for veterans, particularly our returning combat veterans," McClaren said.

The charged individuals and alleged inflated amount of mileage submissions are:

Andre Baird, age 54, of Cleveland                                                  $8,780.71

Mandell Calvin, age 55, of Cleveland                                              $3,459.49

Robert Daniels, age 54, of Warren                                                   $30,144.67

Rebecca Dickson, age 51, of Lakewood                                         $6,712.82

Thurman Harris, age 59, of East Cleveland                                  $12,575.70

Steven Holt, age 54, of Oakwood Village                                      $11,925.34

Ivan Jackson, age 54, of Cleveland                                                  $13,477.88

Timothy Knotts, age 54, of Akron                                                   $9,326.53

Nathaniel Marshall, age 52, of Cleveland                                      $8,052.54

Amm Pearson, age 55, of Euclid                                                     $8,257.37

Thomas Scott, age 49, of Roanoke, AL                                           $22,104.35

James Sharpe, age 62, of Sandusky                                                  $19,210.58

Mark Sheline, age 54, of Lakewood                                                  $15,708.65

Scott Sheline, age 56, of Lakewood                                                  $36,979.40

Anthony Shumpert, age 54, of Akron                                             $17,134.51

Raymond Williams, age 54, of Lakewood                                      $17,455.57

Certain veterans who became disabled following their service and/or who meet certain income requirements can qualify for mileage reimbursements when driving to receive medical attention. Those charged are accused of submitting false mileage information for reimbursement, resulting in a combined loss of nearly $250,000.

The indictment also charges Rebecca Dickson, Thurman Harris, Steven Holt, Ivan Jackson, Nathaniel Marshall, Amm Pearson, Thomas Scott, James Sharpe, Anthony Shumpert, and Raymond Williams with making a false statement to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

If convicted, each of the defendant's sentences will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including each of the defendant's respective prior criminal record, if any, the defendant's role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.  In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jason M. Katz and Arturo G. Hernandez, following investigation by agents of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs–Office of Inspector General, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development–Office of Inspector General, and the Veterans Affairs Police.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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