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Ex-employee of VA gets year for fraud

By LARRY DOUGHERTY

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 28, 2000


TAMPA -- A former VA claims examiner was sentenced Tuesday to a year in federal prison for helping a co-worker cheat the government out of $40,000.

Hack Carr, a 49-year-old St. Petersburg resident, also must serve three years of probation and make restitution for the entire loss.

Carr formerly worked as a senior claims examiner at the Veterans Service Center in St. Petersburg. He had worked at the office 29 years.

In a plea agreement, Carr admitted increasing the disability rating of a co-worker, military veteran Joy C. Brown. The change had the effect of improperly increasing Brown's monthly payment from $444 to $1,159, court records said.

In an attempt to conceal his crime, he destroyed a key document and counseled Brown to lie to investigators, court records said. Carr previously pleaded guilty to theft of government property, using a false document within the jurisdiction of a government agency, and obstructing an agency proceeding, his plea agreement said.

Carr has forfeited his VA pension in order to make restitution.

Carr was arrested last year after federal investigators eavesdropped on a meeting between him and Brown. Brown had been arrested and was cooperating with authorities.

Brown was sentenced last year to 33 months in federal prison for stealing $615,000 in disability benefits. She manipulated the VA system to award a full disability benefit to her fiance, a St. Petersburg police officer. The officer was not charged with any wrongdoing.

- Larry Dougherty can be reached at (813) 226-3337 or dougherty@sptimes.com

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