VA fraud: 83-year-old Pensacola man pleads guilty to receiving $200k in fraudulent benefits

July 10, 2018

Pensacola, FL – According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, a 83 year old Pensacola, FL man has pled guilty to defrauding the Department of Veteran Affairs for just over $200,000.00.

Documents introduced at the time of the guilty plea reflect that, at some point prior to July 3, 1996, Richard E. Kohl, 83, of Pensacola, Florida created and signed a fictitious Form DD-214 that falsely reported that he served in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War and was discharged on December 20, 1961.

Kohl, who never served in any branch of the United States military, used the false Form DD-214 as proof of his military service to obtain veterans’ benefits he was not entitled to receive.

Between February 3, 2005, and February 9, 2018, Kohl received benefit payments and services totaling approximately $219,719.39 from the VA.

“By defrauding the federal government for personal gain, Kohl stole resources needed to help real veterans,” said U.S. Attorney Canova. “These benefits are meant for the brave men and women who have served our country.”

Monty Stokes, Special Agent in Charge, VA Office of Inspector General said, “The VA benefits fraudulently received by Mr. Kohl were intended to provide financial and health care support for veterans who honorably served in the armed forces of the United States.

This guilty plea is the result of the successful investigative and prosecutive efforts of the VA OIG and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. These continued efforts safeguard the integrity of VA programs, and ensure that VA benefits are provided only to those who have earned them.”

Kohl faces a maximum of ten years in prison. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 19, 2018.

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