Federal Jury Convicts Tampa Man Of Theft Of Government Funds And Making False Statement To U.S. Department Of Veterans Affairs
Tampa, Florida – A federal jury has found Barry Wayne Hoover (50, Tampa) guilty of theft of government funds and making a false statement to a federal agency. Hoover faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 2022.
Hoover had been indicted on January 30, 2020.
According to evidence presented at trial, Hoover, a veteran of the United States Navy, exaggerated the extent of his visual impairment in order to receive U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability benefits to which he was not entitled. Specifically, Hoover manipulated the results of subjective tests of his peripheral vision to reflect that he had only a five-degree visual field and was legally blind. The VA found that Hoover was 100% disabled based on those manipulated tests.
Additionally, during a recorded phone call, Hoover falsely stated to the VA that he is not able to drive himself, has someone drive for him, and had last driven a few months previously – but only down the street, for about three blocks, during daytime.
Despite his claimed limited peripheral vision and his statements to the VA, surveillance, video footage, social media posts, and other evidence showed Hoover had no such limitations – without assistance, he readily performed activities of daily life such as shopping and driving a car, in addition to operating a three-wheeled motorcycle, an ATV, and a boat. Authorities also observed Hoover mowing his lawn, operating power tools such as a chain saw, hunting, fishing, and scuba diving, all also without assistance. Expert testimony at trial established that an individual with the five-degree visual field Hoover claimed could not drive and would be reliant on a white cane to function in public.
As a result of his misrepresentations, Hoover received approximately $429,569.09 in VA benefits to which he was not entitled.
This case was investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of the Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tiffany Fields and Special Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne Huyler.