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Press Release

Tampa Man Sentenced To Federal Prison For Defrauding Veterans Health Administration Program

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

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge James S. Moody has sentenced Rupert G. McLendon, III (51, Tampa) to 90 days in federal prison, followed by 2 years of supervised release, for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. As part of his sentence, the court also entered an order of forfeiture in the amount of $37,402, the proceeds of the wire fraud conspiracy. McLendon entered a guilty plea on January 25, 2024.

According to court documents, McLendon was a paid caretaker for a family member through the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veteran Directed Home and Community Based Services (VDHCBS) Program. The veteran for whom McLendon was a paid caregiver was admitted to the hospital in August 2018 and remained hospitalized until his death on or about December 31, 2018. McLendon failed to notify the VDHCBS program of the veteran’s hospitalization and death. Instead, McLendon continued to input, or cause to be input, caregiver hours into the VDHCBS payroll system, and he made false and misleading statements regarding the veteran’s whereabouts and health when contacted by VDHCBS staff. As a result of these fraudulent payroll entries and representations, the VDHCBS Program, and a government contractor associated with that program, suffered a total loss of at least $37,402.39.

“The Veteran-Directed Care program provides a vital bridge between VA’s treatment team and the daily care needs of our nation’s veterans. This sentencing sends a clear message that those who would exploit veterans to commit fraud will be investigated and held accountable,” said Special Agent in Charge David Spilker with the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General’s Southeast Field Office. “The VA OIG will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to safeguard this important VA program.”

This case was investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of the Inspector General. It was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne Huyler.

Updated April 19, 2024

Financial Fraud