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NC Man Gets 5 Years for Stealing Disability Compensation


A 41 Year old North Carolina man was sentenced to five years last week for defrauding the department of Veterans Affairs of $900,000 in improper disability benefits. Robert Glenn Eddings, of Lumberton, NC was also ordered to pay back the amount stolen – which will be a tough job from a jail cell.

Eddings, a Navy veteran, had been receiving disability compensation based on his claim that he was confined to a wheelchair. Investigators were alerted to his fraud when they received information that he had been working at jobs while on disability that could not be done from a wheelchair.

He had been receiving 100 percent disability compensation from 1996 to 2010. According to reporting from a local newspaper, The Department of Veterans Affairs learned in 1999 that he had worked for several months as a law enforcement transportation worker and also as a security officer. For some reason, no action was taken at that time.

As large as this case was, it wasn’t the biggest single instance of fraud involving the VA. In 2009, James Sebero, an Idaho veteran, pled guilty to defrauding the government of $1.5 million in disability benefits. Seboro had told the VA that he was a paraplegic, and began collecting benefits as high as $6,300 per month. Meanwhile, he also worked as a law enforcement officer and flew helicopters while confined to his wheelchair, according to reporting from the Spokesman Review. Or so he claimed. But federal agents lured him into a doctor’s office in 2007 telling him he was overdue for a “compensation and pension” medical evaluation. They then secretly videotaped the doctor’s examination, for which Sebero appeared in a wheelchair and then produced videotape of him entering a courthouse the very next day that demonstrated that he was not a paraplegic at all. Indeed, the video showed him walking into the Spokane, Washington courthouse under his own power.

He did, however, show up in a wheelchair for his court appearances.

The VA budget is not unlimited. When posers fraudulently claim benefits to which they are not entitled, it hurts legitimate disabled veterans. Administrative resources and man-hours are diverted to investigating fraudsters. They also contribute to a negative stigma surrounding those who are receiving disability compensation. The few bad actors taint those who are legitimately entitled.

If you have information that someone you know may be illegally defrauding the government of disability payments, write the VA at vaoighotline.com, or call the VA at (800) 488-8244.

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