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Rochester woman sentenced for stealing from VA death pension program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2013

ROCHESTER, N.Y.-- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Wanda Williams, 52, of Rochester, N.Y., who was convicted of theft of government property, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Frank Geraci to five years probation, 100 hours of community service and was ordered to repay $13,181 to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

            Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig R. Gestring, who handled the case, stated that Williams stole and cashed over $13,000 worth of checks issued to her deceased grandmother by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs as part of their Death Pension Program. This program was designed to provide financial assistance to surviving spouses of veterans who served on active duty during a period of war.

            The defendant's grandfather was a veteran who served in the United States Army during World War Two. As a result of his service and sacrifice, and due to her financial condition, his widow was entitled to a monthly pension check from the V.A. following his death in 1982. These monthly benefits should have ended when the defendant's grandmother died in 2007, however, the defendant continued to cash them until 2010, when her conduct was uncovered by federal investigators. 

            The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs - Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent In Charge Jeffrey G. Hughes.


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