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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Albuquerque Man Sentenced for Submitting Fraudulent Claims to Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Defendant Also Ordered to Pay $23,399.78 in Restitution to VAMC

ALBUQUERQUE – Rick J. Serrano, 43, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced this morning in federal court to three years of probation for submitting false and fraudulent claims to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in Albuquerque.  Serrano also was ordered to pay $23,399.78 in restitution to VAMC which represents the money he fraudulently obtained from the VAMC.

Serrano was indicted on April 24, 2013, on an indictment alleging that he submitted 146 fraudulent claims to the VAMC for travel beneficiary payments.  Serrano pled guilty on Nov. 4, 2014, to a felony information charging him with making false, fictitious and fraudulent claims.  In entering his guilty plea, Serrano admitted that from Sept. 2010 through Oct. 2012, he periodically traveled to the VAMC in Bernalillo County, N.M., to obtain authorized medical treatment and falsely claimed he travelled from Roswell, N.M., to do so.  Serrano admitted his claims for travel cost reimbursement were false claims because they exceeded the costs for which he was entitled to reimbursement.  Serrano acknowledged receiving $23,399.78 in travel cost reimbursements to which he was not entitled.

This case was investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, Criminal Investigations Division, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Presiliano Torrez and William J. Pflugrath.

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Updated August 11, 2015