A grand jury has returned indictments charging 16 veterans with stealing from the United States in relation to the submission of false mileage statements for reimbursement, according to federal law enforcement officials.
According to the indictments, each of the individuals used false or non-existent addresses in their claims for travel reimbursement to the Veterans Affairs Office. The false addresses allowed the individuals to claim longer distances of travel than what was actually traveled, officials said.
“Theft from the public coffers will not be tolerated, whether it is a contractor inflating construction costs or citizens submitting false mileage reimbursements,” said Steven Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
Certain individuals who become disabled following their service are eligible for mileage reimbursements when driving to receive medical attention, officials said. The individuals charged in the indictment are alleged to have submitted false claims with a combined total amount of nearly $250,000.
“This money should have been used for legitimate medical care for veterans, particularly our returning combat veterans,” said Gavin McClaren, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs-Office of Inspector General, Resident Agent in Charge, Cleveland.
The case was investigated by agents of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs-Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-Office of Inspector General, and the Veterans Affairs Police.