SHELBURNE FALLS, Mass. (WWLP) – A former marine from Shelburne Falls was arrested for allegedly stealing benefit payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
According to the Department of Justice, 52-year-old Paul John Herbert was arrested Friday and indicted in federal court in Springfield on one count of theft of government money and one count of making false statements.
According to the court documents, from January 1, 2010 to March 11, 2023, Herbert stole more than $344,000 in veterans disability benefits. In addition, on October 24, 2018, he allegedly submitted an application for a Purple Heart award to the United States Marine Corps through his local Congressman, in which Herbert falsely stated that he had suffered injuries, including traumatic brain injury, from a roadside explosion while deployed to Northern Iraq.
If convicted, Herbert faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater for the theft of government money. The charge of making a false statement provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.
“Mr. Herbert’s alleged conduct is an affront to every veteran who has sacrificed to earn the honor of a Purple Heart and who is deserving of disability benefits. According to the indictment, he not only stole tens of thousands of dollars in disability benefits that are supposed to be used to help veterans in need, but he also falsely claimed to have suffered a traumatic brain injury during his deployment in an effort to receive a Purple Heart he didn’t deserve,” said United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy. “Every day, thousands of brave members of the military selflessly risk their lives to protect our country. Stealing from our country’s veterans or claiming valor where there is none is an insult to the honorable service members who sacrifice for our safety.”
“The VA Office of Inspector General remains committed to ensuring that VA benefits are administered to deserving recipients based on legitimate accounts of their military service,” said Christopher Algieri, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (VA OIG) Northeast Field Office. “The VA OIG thanks our partners at the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their efforts in this joint investigation.”
“Individuals who steal veterans disability benefits and falsely represent themselves as decorated veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces degrade the service of the men and women who selflessly serve our country,” said Patrick J. Hegarty, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Northeast Field Office, the law enforcement component of the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General. “Today’s charges demonstrate our commitment to work with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General and the Department of Justice to investigate allegations of stolen military benefits.”
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