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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Lynn Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Veterans Benefits

BOSTON – A Lynn man pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Boston to stealing nearly $80,000 in veterans benefits.

John Ladd, 73, pleaded guilty today to theft of public money.  U.S. District Court Senior Judge Douglas P. Woodlock scheduled sentencing for Dec. 5, 2016.

In 2009, Ladd’s neighbor was receiving monthly veterans benefits when she died; however, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was not properly notified of the death, so it continued to deposit her benefits each month into her bank account.  Ladd had been assisting his neighbor before her death, and this enabled him to access her checkbook.  Although Ladd was not entitled to his neighbor’s veterans benefits, he routinely wrote checks to himself from his neighbor’s account after her death, forging her signature on each check.  Ladd then deposited the checks into his own bank accounts.  Ladd ultimately wrote himself 70 checks totaling $79,958. 

The charge of theft of public money provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.    

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Jeffrey Hughes, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of the Inspector General, Northeast Field Office made the announcement today.  The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Landry of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.

Updated August 25, 2016