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Couple pleads guilty to V.A. benefit fraud

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Posted at 7:32 AM, Mar 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-23 07:32:46-04

A Western New York couple will have to pay one million dollars in restitution for defrauding the Veterans’ Administration and Workers’ Compensation. They could also face jail time after pleading guilty to charges.

A federal grand jury indicted Richard Klaffka, 57, and his wife Cathleen, 61, of Holland on three counts, including wire and mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

Prosecutors say Richard claimed in 2006 that he was injured during military service in 1978 and confined to a wheelchair. Cathleen pushed Richard to the VA Hospital in the wheelchair, even while prosecutors say Richard was able to walk and take part in physical activities like hiking, riding a bike and pitching horseshoes.

Richard also made a claim with Workers’ Compensation saying that he could no longer work for the United States Postal Service because he was only able to walk with the assistance of a cane.

The investigation began with an anonymous call to a fraud hotline.