The Justice Department announced that a former member of the U.S. Air Force has entered a guilty plea Tuesday for her role in a plot to defraud the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Jacqueline Crawford, 33, of Gulfport, Mississippi, appeared before U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta of the District of Columbia where she pleaded guilty to one count of conversion of government funds. Crawford agreed to forfeit $45,917 as part of her plea deal.
According to court documents, Crawford’s scheme was devised in October 2014 when she lamented about her financial struggles to a friend and former U.S. Air Force Service member who worked at the VA in Washington, D.C.
Her friend offered to send Crawford VA hardship money available to veterans if she would give him her bank account information. Crawford complied despite her knowledge that her friend was improperly obtaining the funds for her. The friend later proposed that Crawford give him a kick back on the funds, and she agreed.
Seven unlawful special payments from the VA totaling $45,917 were made to Crawford between October 2014 and February 2015. Crawford admitted giving $13,100 of the money she received to her friend which she sent through 16 wire transfers, usually by way of Walmart2Walmart money grams.
The case was investigated by the VA Office of Inspector General Criminal Investigations Division.
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