News and Press Releases

Burgettstown Man Pleads Guilty To Stealing Deceased Brother's Benefits

February 3, 2011

PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ A resident of Burgettstown, Pa., pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of theft of government property, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Richard Lonick, 40, Pa., pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Arthur J. Schwab.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Lonick's brother was a Veteran receiving Veteran's benefits up until the time of his death on June 8, 2006. After his death, Richard Lonick, who was not entitled to those benefits, continued to receive those benefits and use those benefits to pay for personal expenses for more than two‑ and‑ a‑ half years.  Richard Lonick illegally obtained more than $50,000 in benefits.

Judge Schwab scheduled sentencing for July 8, 2011. The law provides for a total sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Brendan T. Conway is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Department of Veteran's Affairs, Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Lonick.

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