Lumberton veteran ordered to pay back $900K in false benefits
Posted September 4, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — A Lumberton man who claimed he was an injured veteran was ordered Tuesday to pay back nearly $900,000 in government benefits that authorities said he collected fraudulently over 16 years.
U.S. District Court Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced Ronnie Glenn Eddings, 41, to five years in prison, followed by three years of probation and restitution.
Eddings pleaded guilty in February to theft of government property after being indicted on the charge in 2011.
According to court documents, Eddings served in the Navy and claimed he was injured while deployed in Saudi Arabia. He claimed his symptoms became progressively worse until he was confined to a wheelchair.
In 1994, Eddings applied for compensation through the Department of Veterans Affairs, was awarded full disability and given monthly compensation. Two years later, he applied for and received increased benefits based on his worsening health.
In 1999, the VA learned Eddings had been employed for about five months as a transportation officer with a sheriff's office. He had also been employed as a security officer and a social worker. All three jobs required tasks that could not be performed by someone in a wheelchair, authorities said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Ontjes prosecuted the case.