Altoona Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Lying About Military Record and Honors to Obtain VA Health Care Benefits
DES MOINES, IA - On March 14, 2013, Jeffrey Scott Kepler, age 53, of Altoona, Iowa, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John A. Jarvey to one year and one day in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt.
Kepler pleaded guilty on September 7, 2012, to federal charges of health care fraud. As part of his plea agreement, Kepler admitted to submitting a false United States Department of Defense form, known as a “DD Form 214, Certificate of Release And Discharge From Active Duty,” to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Des Moines in August 2007, in which he falsely represented his military service in an effort to fraudulently obtain VA medical benefits to which he was not entitled. Between 2007 and 2010, Kepler received over $100,000 in VA health care benefits for which he was not eligible. He also attempted to obtained VA disability benefits to which he was not entitled, but was caught.
Kepler only served in the United States Army for 27 days in 1986, when he was honorably discharged for not meeting medical fitness standards. He received no promotions, awards, or commendations, and was never in combat, and did not serve in the military long enough to earn veterans benefits. In the false DD Form 214, Kepler falsely claimed to have served in the Army for 2 years, 11 months, and 23 days between January 1977 and August 1979, portraying himself as an Airborne Ranger, who qualified for Officer Candidate School, and a war hero, who had been awarded numerous Army medals, including the Silver Star, and twice awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
Kepler also admitted in court that he had acquired military memorabilia over the years, including various crests, insignia, badges, ribbons, clothing, medals, awards, and military tatoos, which he used from time-to-time to falsely represent himself to individuals and the American Legion as a decorated, Army combat veteran. As part of the plea agreement, Kepler consented to forfeiting or adandoning these items to the United States.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, and was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney Office for the Southern District of Iowa.