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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Puerto Rico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 16, 2015

Individual Sentenced For Defrauding The US Department Of Veterans Affairs

SAN JUAN, P.R. – Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, announced the sentencing of Pedro Rodríguez-Colondres to 18 months in prison by United States District Court Judge Francisco A. Besosa.  Rodríguez-Colondres pled guilty to Theft of Government Funds in violation of 18 USC 641.  As part of the sentencing the defendant was ordered to pay the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs $550,849.92 in restitution.

An investigation by Special Agents from the US Department of Veteran Affairs, Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) and US Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DSS), revealed the defendant was discharged upon his request from the US Army Reserve seven months after his enlistment and was informed he would be ineligible for reenlistment.   Approximately three years later, on September 14, 1977, the defendant fraudulently enlisted using his cousin’s name Pedro Colondres-Rosa.  The defendant was medically discharged for temporary disability on May 17, 1978, and five days after his discharge, the defendant requested disability benefits from Veterans Affairs.  Over the last thirty years, the defendant fraudulently received in excess of $1.4 million dollars in compensation, education, and medical benefits from the Veterans Administration. Federal authorities became aware of the fraud after Rodríguez-Colondres attempted to obtain a U.S. Passport under the assumed identity of his cousin, Colondres-Rosa.

“This individual defrauded the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs for personal gain,” said United States Attorney, Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. “We will continue to investigate and prosecute those who engage in corrupt acts which directly affect federal programs and the availability of these funds for its intended recipients. We commend the law enforcement agencies and our attorneys for their efforts in investigating this case and bringing this individual to justice.”

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Updated April 14, 2015