DUBLIN, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A former Department of Veterans Affairs employee is accused of defrauding the federal government out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
According to U.S. Attorney Office Edward Tarver of the Southern District of Georgia, 41-year-old Loretta Smith worked as a nurse at the VA hospital in Dublin.
Investigators say she filed bogus worker's compensation claims to the Department of Labor from 2009 through 2013. She is also accused of falsely claiming costs for travel that she did not make and for costs of medical treatment that she didn't receive. Federal officials say she received more than $450,000.
“This defendant, who was hired by the federal government to help those in need, chose, instead, to help herself to taxpayer money she wasn't entitled to receive,” Tarver said in a statement. “This sentence sends this strong message to those who would lie and cheat to get taxpayer money: you can expect to spend years in a federal prison.”
Smith was sentenced to serve five years in prison. She must also pay $454,000 in restitution and a $454,000 forfeiture judgment.