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Press Release

Odessa Veteran Pleads Guilty To Theft Of Veteran Benefits

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, FL – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Edward Ferraro (48, Odessa) has pleaded guilty to theft of Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) disability benefits. Ferraro faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not been set.

According to public records, Ferraro, a former VA disability rater, exploited his position with the VA to apply for and approve benefits in the name of an unwitting third party in May 2003. The proceeds of the fraud were deposited into a bank account in Ferraro’s name, and over the ensuing years the VA paid more than $500,000 in improper benefits. Ferraro withdrew the VA proceeds from the account and used them to fund his lifestyle, including cash payments to his credit cards, family vacations, gambling, and the like. The scheme was discovered when the identity theft victim—also a veteran—attempted to apply for a VA-backed home loan.

This case was investigated by the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Veterans Affairs. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rachel Jones.

Updated June 22, 2023

Financial Fraud