Kings County Woman Sentenced To Prison For Stealing Disability Benefits From Department Of Veterans Affairs
FRESNO, Calif. – Nola Diane Collins, 60, of Armona, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill to five months in prison for stealing disability compensation benefits paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. Collins also was ordered to pay $76,998 in restitution to the VA.
According to court documents, Collins’s husband received benefits paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) until his death in December 2007. For two years after his death, Collins unlawfully received and spent the VA benefits totaling approximately $76,998. Collins never notified the VA that her husband was deceased. On several occasions, Collins forged her husband’s signature to the benefit checks and passed them at a convenience store, telling the store clerk that her husband was disabled and unable to cash the check himself.
This case was the product of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Baker prosecuted the case.