Military veteran sentenced for travel fraud; worked with Kent man

One of five military veterans, who reportedly worked with a Kent man to falsify travel claims as part of a conspiracy to defraud the Veterans Administration, was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Seattle to one year in prison, three years of supervised released and $22,511 in restitution for making false claims.

Aaron Adams, 50, of Seattle, defrauded the Veterans Administration by claiming reimbursement for travel from Pullman to the VA Hospital in Seattle, when in fact he lived in Seattle and was not entitled to significant travel funds, according to a U.S. Attorney's Office media release. Adams is one of nine conspirators identified earlier this year by an investigation by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General.

Adams pleaded guilty in August.

According to records filed in the case, two workers, including a Kent man, in the VA Travel Benefits Office allegedly recruited veterans who were receiving health care at the VA to lie about their travel to the medical facility. Adams filed vouchers claiming he traveled from Pullman to Seattle for appointments at the VA on Beacon Hill.

Adams claimed he made 96 trips, with a mileage reimbursement from Pullman of more than $262 per trip. In fact, Adams never traveled from Pullman, and on 23 of the dates he did not even have an appointment at the VA.

After collecting the travel reimbursement, Adams reportedly would split the ill-gotten funds with two workers - Nick B. Hall, 46, of Seattle and Keishjuan Daniels, 32, of Kent. Hall and Daniels are scheduled for trial in January 2013.

Michael E. Seitler, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, Northwest Field Office, stated that “the actions of corrupt government employees, and this veteran, who conspired with them, served to divert precious financial resources from the VA's critical mission of providing healthcare to this nation's military veterans. The VA Office of Inspector General will continue to aggressively pursue investigations of this type and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.”

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