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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of West Virginia

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tucker County woman charged with fraudulently collecting government benefits

CLARKSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – A federal grand jury returned an indictment today charging Dorothy Lawson, 66, of Hendricks, West Virginia, with fraudulently collecting spousal death benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced.

Dorothy Lawson was previously married to a veteran who passed away in 1991. Lawson allegedly remarried in 1995 and continued to unlawfully collect spousal death benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs until at least 2013. Lawson is further alleged to have falsely reported on at least two government forms that she had never remarried.

Lawson is charged with one count of “Theft and Conversion of Government Monies.” She faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00. She is further charged with two counts of “False Statement in Document.” She faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00 on each of the two counts. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Cogar is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General is leading the investigation.

An indictment is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated January 8, 2016