KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Lee’s Summit, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to stealing more than $340,000 by continuing to collect his grandmother’s veteran survivor benefits following her death almost 30 years ago.
Jeffrey L. Tyler, 67, waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark to a federal information that charges him with one count of the theft of government property.
By pleading guilty today, Tyler admitted that he spent $340,934 in veteran survivor benefits from his grandmother’s bank account on his own personal expenses. Tyler’s grandmother received veteran survivor benefits based on her husband’s military service. She died on Nov. 26, 1993, but the benefits continued to be deposited into her bank account. The account received $1,110 per month, a total of $13,320 per year.
Tyler was also on his grandmother’s bank account. The bank records show that the money was spent on personal expenses for Tyler, including hundreds of signed checks by Tyler for such items as water and electric bills. The total amount of benefits converted by Tyler was approximately $338,316. Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Tyler must pay $340,934 in restitution to the government.
Under federal statutes, Tyler is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul S. Becker. It was investigated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General – Criminal Investigations Division.