PROVIDENCE, United States, March 15 (AP) — A former social worker at a Rhode Island VA hospital used stolen patient information to brazenly pass himself off as a Marine vet with cancer serviceman, and fraudulently received nearly $300,000 in benefits, charitable contributions, and donations and was sentenced Tuesday to nearly six years in prison.
The U.S. District Court in Providence also ordered Sarah Jane Kavanaugh, 32, to pay full restitution.
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Kavanaugh wore her uniform to public events where she spoke about the struggles veterans face, bought a Purple Heart and Bronze Star to wear, and was even named commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars post. Then, in early 2022, she was exposed when a charity to which she had applied for funding became suspicious and began checking her background.
“Sarah Kavanaugh’s conduct during the course of her planning was simply appalling,” U.S. Attorney Zachary Cunha said in a statement.
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“By shamelessly demanding the honor, service and sacrifice of true veterans, this defendant preys on the charity and decency of others for his own shameless financial gain.”
Kavanaugh’s defense attorney, Kensley Barrett, is asking for a two-year sentence, citing her lack of a criminal record, her low risk of recidivism, and her already public disgrace, loss of professional license, and dismissal. “significant price” paid. Her marriage, and even online death threats.
Cavanaugh pleaded guilty in August to wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, forgery and fraudulent use of the medal and apologized in court.
There is no record of Kavanaugh serving in the U.S. military. She does, however, work as a licensed social worker at the Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
It was through this job that she obtained documents, personal information and medical records belonging to a veteran with actual cancer, which she used to create fraudulent documents and medical records in her name. records, saying she had been honorably discharged and had cancer, prosecutors said when she was charged last March.
When Cavanaugh said she couldn’t afford insurance deductibles for her cancer treatment, the same veteran whose identity she had stolen and identified only by her initials in court documents agreed to pay them for her — nearly $600 a month. Dollars – an act that prosecutors said “revealed the depth of moral decay”.
Kavanaugh said she served from 2009 to 2016 in Iraq and Afghanistan before being promoted to corporal and was being treated for lung cancer due to exposure to fire pits and inhaling particulate matter from bomb blasts, according to authorities.
According to prosecutors, she accepted more than $225,000 from the Wounded Warrior Project alone to pay for things like yoga classes, gym memberships, groceries and physical therapy.
Authorities say she took her fraud to such an extreme that she told people at the gym that a finger injury prevented her from tying her shoes, so whenever she wanted to work, other people had to get down on their knees to tie her shoes and go out .
In a victim impact statement filed with the court, a real veteran she met said she took a place in a healing veteran arts program that could have been given to veterans. The war veteran told the court that a friend who applied to the scheme, CreatiVets, was not accepted and later committed suicide. Kavanaugh received $15,000 from the program, according to court documents.
She received about $18,500 in financial aid from a Virginia code of support and about $4,700 from a fundraising website, prosecutors said.
An investigation was launched after the Providence nonprofit HunterSeven Foundation, which helps sick veterans, contacted the Providence Department of Veterans Affairs because they were suspicious of Kavanaugh when she approached them for help.
Kavanaugh was also ordered to pay full compensation and she is remorseful, her attorney wrote in court documents. She was “deeply traumatized in her formative years in high school” and through her work she has forged connections with veterans she cared about.
Christopher Algieri, head of the Northeast Virginia Office of Inspector General, said: “Today’s sentence serves as a tribute to those who disguised themselves in order to profit from the kindness and respect shown to our country’s veterans. Sends a strong message.” Office. (Associated Press)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)