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State v. Ms. K (DMC No. 13282)

Ms. K was in the Air Force from 1981 through 2001 and received an Honorable Discharge. She was initially rated at 90% service-connected disability for various medical conditions from 2001 to 2003. Then from 2006 until 2014, she was rated at 100% medically disabled. She had vowed that she was unemployable.

Just prior to 2007, she applied to the Veteran’s Administration for increased compensation based on her unemployability. She stated that she formerly was employed by a large airline as an Operational Manager but had recently become 100% unemployed. The VA approved her for $2,560 a month from that point forward. From approximately January 1, 2007 to February 1, 2014, she received a total of $90,579 in Disability Benefits.

What she failed to do was update the VA that she had gained employment from late December of 2006 through February 7, 2014 and was working fulltime. Because of this Benefits Fraud, she was subsequently charged with 1 Count of Fraudulent Schemes, 1 Count of Theft, and 3 Counts of Forgery.  If we would have proceeded to Trial and lost on all 5 Counts, she could have received up to 68 years in prison.

We were able to use significant mitigation to Ms. K’s benefit. We were able to show the Prosecutor that she had no prior felony convictions, that she was a single-parent mother and was an active member in the Baptist Church, and she had a fairly- outstanding military career that left her somewhat disabled mentally (which may have played a part in her crime). She cooperated fully in the investigation and truly had remorse. Ultimately, we negotiated a deal that could have allowed the Judge to have sentenced Ms. K up to 9 months in jail. In the end, the Judge sentenced her to Probation with 6 months of jail and the ability to be released daily for work under the Work Furlough Program.

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