Navy Veteran Convicted of Making False Statement to Receive Disability Benefit Payments
Edmond Deslatte, 46, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., pleaded guilty Friday to making a false statement to a federal agent in connection with an investigation into his disability benefits payments, announced David Rivera, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.
During a plea hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Aleta A. Trauger, Deslatte admitted making a false statement during an April 2011 interview with a special agent with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) Office of Inspector General (“OIG”). At the time of the April 2011 interview, Deslatte was receiving 100% disability benefit payments from the VA, although he had been working full-time. At his plea hearing, Deslatte admitted that, during his April 2011 interview, he falsely represented to the VA-OIG agent that medication prescribed for his medical condition had rendered him disabled and unable to work. Deslatte further admitted that he had not been taking the medication as he had represented to the VA-OIG agent.
According to Deslatte, he made the misrepresentations in an effort to continue receiving disability benefit payments from the VA. In May 2014 a VA physician determined that Deslatte did not suffer from the medical condition that had supposedly rendered him disabled, and the VA subsequently terminated Deslatte’s disability payments. The intended loss associated with Deslatte’s misrepresentations to the VA was approximately $148,000.
Deslatte faces up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Deslatte will be sentenced by Judge Trauger on January 19, 2017. Deslatte’s sentence will be imposed by the Court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and applicable federal statutes.
The case was investigated by the VA Office of Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William F. Abely.