Milton man sentenced for VA disability fraud

Posted on September 3, 2019 by Staff reports

Bryan S. Gaines, 46, of Milton, Florida, was sentenced today to 3 years’ probation and ordered to repay the government more than a quarter-million dollars after pleading guilty to theft of government money and making false statements. The sentence, handed down in the U.S. District Court in Pensacola, was announced by Lawrence Keefe, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

Gaines received disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Between at least 2011 and 2018, he falsely reported to the VA that he was not working and was unable to work, so he could receive benefits to which he was not entitled. In fact, Gaines had been working at an automotive repair business during that time. For this fraud, Gaines was sentenced to 3 years’ probation and ordered to pay $243,243.05 in restitution to the VA.

“Stealing from the VA is tantamount to stealing from each of the brave men and women who have served our nation in times of war and times of piece. Today’s sentence should serve as a strong reminder that this kind of contemptible behavior will not be tolerated, and will in fact be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Keefe said.

David Spilker, Special Agent in Charge, VA OIG, stated, “Gaines stole VA’s resources from eligible veterans deserving of the financial assistance earned through their military service. VA OIG is committed to safeguarding the integrity of VA’s disability benefits programs.”

Assistant United States Attorney Alicia H. Forbes prosecuted the case following an investigation by the Department of Veterans Affairs-Office of the Inspector General.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General.