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VA Claimant Admits Fudging Mileage Reimbursements for $72K

Friday, February 22, 2019 | 243 | 0 | 11 min read

A Veterans Affairs employee must pay $72,207 in restitution to the federal government and serve five years' probation after pleading guilty to four counts of wire fraud and submitting false claims for mileage reimbursement, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of New York said Thursday.

Linda Sue Parnell, of Syracuse, filed a workers’ compensation claim for a back injury while working for a Department of Veterans Affairs hospital, according to the office.

The U.S. Department of Labor authorized Parnell to obtain a reimbursable membership to the YMCA of Greater Syracuse and to seek reimbursement for miles driven to and from the gym to exercise and strengthen her back. The department also authorized her to seek reimbursement for miles driven to and from covered medical appointments.

Prosecutors say that from 2010 to 2016, Parnell submitted reimbursement claims for trips that she did not actually make to the YMCA, and she significantly inflated the mileage for trips that she did take. Parnell claimed to have visited the YMCA more than 1,700 times, though she actually visited on approximately 50 occasions. 

The investigation also established that Parnell claimed to visit the YMCA on holidays when it was closed and on days she was traveling out of state, including dozens of times over a several-month period during which she resided in Pennsylvania.

From her fraud scheme, Parnell received $72,207.16 in reimbursement for mileage claims that were fraudulent, prosecutors say.

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