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Prosecutor: Veteran embezzled nearly $1M in benefits

January 10, 2021 GMT

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina Vietnam veteran embezzled nearly $1 million in health care benefits from the government that helped support a lifestyle that included dancing, playing basketball and buying a beach condo, according to federal prosecutors.

Federal prosecutors based in Winston-Salem said in a news release that 73-year-old Willie Dosher Cain of Fayetteville had pleaded guilty in 2020 to one count of embezzlement and was sentenced on Jan. 5 of this year to five years of probation. United States District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder said that Cain’s age and the COVID-19 pandemic influenced his sentencing decision.

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Cain was also ordered to pay $900,000 in restitution and forfeit a 2018 van and a mobility scooter. He forfeited his Carolina Beach condo in a related action, prosecutors say.

Court documents say that Cain, a U.S. Army veteran and former Fayetteville police officer, told the Department of Veterans Affairs that shrapnel wounds caused him to lose the use of his legs and that he was dependent on a wheelchair or scooter. However, authorities say that Cain had an active lifestyle during the time that included playing basketball, dancing and working as a firearms instructor.

The news release said that Cain’s false claims allowed him to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in benefits including direct aid payments, home modifications and adaptation of vehicles.