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Tampa man sentenced to prison for defrauding Veterans Health Program

A Florida man who pleaded guilty to defrauding veterans was sentenced to 90 days in jail and two years of supervised release. Below you will find an official statement from the US. United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida about the conviction of Rupert G. McLendon, III (51, Tampa).

Tampa, FL – U.S. District Judge James S. Moody sentenced Rupert G. McLendon, III (51, Tampa) to 90 days in prison, followed by 2 years of supervised release, for conspiracy to commit fraud. As part of his sentence, the court also imposed a forfeiture order in the amount of $37,402, the proceeds of the bank fraud conspiracy. McLendon entered a guilty plea on January 25, 2024.

According to court documents, McLendon was a paid caregiver for a family member through the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veteran Directed Home and Community Based Services (VDHCBS) Program. The veteran for whom McLendon was a paid caregiver was hospitalized in August 2018 and remained hospitalized until his death on or about December 31, 2018. McLendon failed to notify the VDHCBS program of the hospitalization and death of the veteran. Instead, McLendon continued to enter, or cause to be entered, caregiver hours into the VDHCBS payroll system, and made false and misleading statements about the veteran’s whereabouts and health when contacted by VDHCBS personnel. As a result of these fraudulent payroll returns and statements, the VDHCBS program and a government contractor associated with that program suffered a total loss of at least $37,402.39.

“The Veteran-Directed Care program provides a vital bridge between VA’s treatment team and the daily care needs of our nation’s veterans. This conviction sends a clear message that those who would exploit veterans to commit fraud will be investigated and held accountable,” said Special Agent in Charge David Spilker of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General’s Southeast Field Office -general. “The VA OIG will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to protect this important VA program.”

This case was investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General. It was continued by Special Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne Huyler.