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Press Release

Former Military Serviceman Sentenced to Federal Prison For Theft Of Government Money

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

GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA – U.S. Attorney Lawrence Keefe for the Northern District of Florida today announced the sentencing of William Larry Johns, 69, of Gainesville, after he was sentenced on June 24 in the United States District Court in Gainesville to a federal grand jury indictment that charged him with one count of theft of government money.

Johns served in the United States Marine Corps for less than a year in 1967, and years later applied for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) Disability Pension claiming to be unable to work due to a non-service connected disability.  Johns failed to regularly report his employment history, net worth, and income received from all sources as he was required to do. Further, during visits to the VA Medical Center, Johns falsely indicated that he was retired and failed to report to the VA the income he was earning through his plumbing and drain cleaning businesses between 2004 and 2017.

In addition to receiving a sentence of incarceration in federal prison and supervised release, Johns was ordered to pay restitution to the Department of Veterans Affairs in the amount of $157,949.

Assistant United States Attorney Justin M. Keen prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG). David Spilker, Special Agent in Charge, VA-OIG, stated, "The defendant’s deceitful actions stole VA’s limited resources from eligible veterans deserving of the financial assistance they earned through military service.  VA-OIG is committed to safeguarding the integrity of VA’s healthcare and benefits programs." 

United States Attorney Keefe added, “Military benefits exist for those who truly earned them, individuals who need the help of a public on whose behalf they sacrificed so much. Not only should these benefits be denied to those who do not earn them, but we owe it to the real heroes to prosecute anyone who seeks to benefit unjustly at their expense.”

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General.  To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website.  For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit


U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Florida

Updated July 2, 2019