HomeFlorida NewsTampa man sentenced for exploiting veterans care program, faces federal prison

Tampa man sentenced for exploiting veterans care program, faces federal prison


Tampa, Florida – Rupert G. McLendon, III, a 51-year-old Tampa resident, has been sentenced to a term of 90 days in federal prison for his involvement in a wire fraud conspiracy. Following his imprisonment, McLendon will also undergo two years of supervised release, underscoring the seriousness of his offenses. The court has further mandated a forfeiture of $37,402, which represents the ill-gotten gains from his criminal activities.

Exploiting Veterans’ Care for Personal Gain

McLendon’s role as a paid caretaker through the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veteran Directed Home and Community Based Services (VDHCBS) Program turned fraudulent when he chose to deceive the system designed to aid veterans.

Court documents reveal that after the veteran under his care was hospitalized in August 2018 and subsequently passed away on December 31, 2018, McLendon failed to report these critical changes. Instead, he deceitfully continued to submit caregiver hours and made false statements about the veteran’s condition to the VDHCBS program.

By manipulating the VDHCBS payroll system, McLendon caused a significant financial loss to the program and a government contractor associated with the program, amounting to over $37,000. His actions not only defrauded a federal care program but also disrespected the memory and dignity of the veteran he was charged to care for.

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A Clear Message Against Fraud

The sentencing of McLendon stands as a stark warning against the exploitation of systems meant to serve those who have served the nation. Special Agent in Charge David Spilker from the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General’s Southeast Field Office commented on the case, stating, “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 sentencing sends a clear message that those who would exploit veterans to commit fraud will be investigated and held accountable.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of the Inspector General, carried out the investigation leading to McLendon’s conviction, with the case being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne Huyler.

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