FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
TUESDAY - February 14, 2012
FAYETTEVILLE MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO SCAMMING THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERAN’S AFFAIRS OF NEARLY $900,000
NEW BERN - United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that in federal court today RONNIE GLENN EDDINGS, 41, pled guilty before United States Magistrate Judge David W. Daniel to theft of government property, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641.
According to the October 5, 2011, Criminal Indictment, from October, 1994, to March, 2010, EDDINGS received service-related benefits for which he was not entitled. The investigation showed that EDDINGS, who served in the Navy, claimed he was injured while serving in Saudi Arabia and, with progressively worsening symptoms, confined to a wheelchair. In 1994, EDDINGS applied for compensation through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA). After a medical examination, he was awarded 100% disability and given a special monthly compensation. In 1996, he submitted a claim for an increase in benefits alleging increased problems, which was awarded.
In 1999, the VA learned that EDDINGS wanted to become a law enforcement officer and had been employed for approximately five months as a Transportation Officer with a sheriff’s office. Further investigation revealed that he had also been employed as a security officer and a social worker. Each of these positions requiring tasks that could not be performed by someone in a wheelchair.
At sentencing, set for the May, 2012, term of court, EDDINGS faces up to 10 years imprisonment followed by up to three years supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
Investigation of this case was conducted by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Office of Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Ethan Ontjes is prosecuting the case.