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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                          May 3, 2012                   

HUNTINGTON MAN SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR THEFT OF GOVERNMENT BENEFITS

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Darryl J. Hodgkinson, 61, of Huntington was sentenced today to one year and one day in prison by U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers for theft of public money.  Hodgkinson previously pleaded guilty in May 2011.  On July 1, 1998, Hodgkinson applied for Veterans Affairs (VA) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) benefits.  Hodgkinson admitted that he knowingly and intentionally submitted false and fictitious documents to the VA in order to qualify for military benefits that he was not entitled to receive.  Hodgkinson further admitted to presenting numerous combat awards, citations and experiences that he did not earn, was not awarded and did not experience.  

“Often all we can give veterans who have fought and shed blood for our nation is recognition through citations and awards. Lying about one’s service record for any reason is therefore reprehensible. But to fake service records to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional benefits you’re not entitled to is about as low as it gets,”  said U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin. 

On September 7, 2001, Hodgkinson was granted PTSD benefits.  On December 7, 2001, Hodgkinson was granted Employment benefits in conjunction with and related to the PTSD benefits.  Because of the defendant’s false claims regarding his service record in Vietnam, he received benefits that he would not have otherwise been entitled to receive in the amount of $324,800 from September 7, 2001 to April 1, 2010. 

At sentencing, Judge Chambers remarked that the defendant’s conduct was “offensive” and that it “deprived veterans of money they need.”

The Court also ordered the defendant to pay restitution in the amount of $324,800. 

The investigation was conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General.  Assistant United States Attorney Erik Goes handled the prosecution. 

This case was prosecuted as part of the U.S. Attorney's Initiative to Combat Theft of Government Benefits launched in June 2008.  The Initiative is designed to protect public funds and to prosecute those who steal benefits from public programs or agencies such as the Railroad Retirement Board, US Veterans Administration, Social Security Administration, and the Department of Labor.       

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