Palm Bay Man Sentenced For Defrauding The Department Of Veterans Affairs
Orlando, Florida – U.S. District Judge Gregory A. Presnell today sentenced Armando Lafuente (56, Palm Bay) to 12 months and 1 day in federal prison for theft of government money. As part of his sentence, the court also entered a money judgment for $157,471.57, the proceeds of the offense. Lafuente pleaded guilty on November 27, 2017.
According to court documents, between December 2009 and January 2017, Lafuente obtained various disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by claiming that he had completely lost the use of both of his feet due to a prior, service-connected injury. An investigation conducted by the VA Office of Inspector General confirmed that Lafuente had not completely lost the use of his feet; on the contrary, he could perform a wide range of normal activities—including walking, driving, climbing ladders, and mowing his lawn. The disability benefits Lafuente had received included special monthly compensation payments, transportation services, and an automobile grant.
This case was investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Emily C. L. Chang.