Couple charged in VA benefits scheme

Published 12:01 am Friday, January 8, 2016

ALEXANDRIA, La. — A former Concordia Parish couple was sentenced to one year each in prison for their roles in a scheme to steal nearly $200,000 in Veterans Affairs benefits over a 10-year period.

Alfred Lewis Jr., 67, of Ferriday, and Rose M. Lewis, 64, of Natchez, were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell today.

Alfred Lewis was sentenced on one count of theft of government property or funds. Rose Lewis was sentenced on one count of conspiracy to commit theft of government property or funds.

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They were also sentenced to two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $197,784 restitution.

Evidence indicates that from July of 2003 until November of 2013, the defendants conspired to steal $197,784 in Veterans Affairs benefits, U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley said in a news release.

Alfred Lewis served in the U.S. Air Force and applied for veteran’s benefits in July of 2003. He and Rose Lewis did not disclose to Veterans Affairs that Rose Lewis had been working while living with Alfred Lewis during the 10-year period he received benefits. In written statements of their income sent to Veterans Affairs, they denied they were working when in fact Rose Lewis was earning more than $50,000 a year in Mississippi.

Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cytheria D. Jernigan prosecuted the case.