UTICA, NEW YORK - Linda Sue Parnell, age 64, of Syracuse, New York, was sentenced today to 5 years of probation and to pay restitution to the federal government in the amount of $72,207.16, after previously pleading guilty to four counts of wire fraud for submitting fraudulent claims for mileage reimbursement between 2010 and 2016.
The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Special Agent in Charge Sean J. Smith, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, Criminal Investigations Division, Northeast Field Office.
An investigation revealed that Parnell, years after claiming to have sustained a back injury while working at a Veterans Affairs hospital, was approved to receive compensation benefits from the U.S Department of Labor relating to her claim. The Department of Labor authorized Parnell to obtain a reimbursable membership to the YMCA of Greater Syracuse and to seek reimbursement for miles driven to and from the YMCA for the purpose of exercising to strengthen her back. The Department of Labor also authorized Parnell to seek reimbursement for miles driven to and from covered medical appointments.
Parnell defrauded the Department of Labor by submitting reimbursement claims for trips that she did not actually make to the YMCA, and by significantly inflating the mileage for those trips she did take to the YMCA and also to covered medical appointments. Parnell claimed to have visited the YMCA more than 1,700 times between 2010 and 2016, though she actually visited the YMCA on approximately 50 occasions during this time. The investigation also established that Parnell claimed to visit the YMCA on holidays when it was closed and on days she was traveling out of state, including dozens of times over a several-month period during which she resided in Pennsylvania. From her fraud scheme, Parnell received $72,207.16 in reimbursement for mileage claims that were fraudulent.
United States District Judge David N. Hurd imposed Parnell’s sentence today in Utica.
This case was investigated by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, Criminal Investigations Division, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael F. Perry and Tamara Thomson.