AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRBL) – A Georgia postal worker confessed to withholding information concerning his employment with the U.S. Postal Service when applying for and receiving pension benefits from the Veterans Benefits Administration, an agency under the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).
Sanford Lamar Edwards, 50, from Crawfordville, Georgia, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to an information charging him with false statements in an application for veteran benefits, announced U.S. Attorney David H. Estes.
Edwards is subjected to a statutory penalty of five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and several financial penalties and restitution.
“The VA administers pension funding for former military service members in accordance with guidelines that ensure fiscal responsibility in the recipients’ applications,” said U.S. Attorney Estes. “Sanford Edwards knew he didn’t qualify for those benefits and applied for them anyway, and he is being held accountable for his deceit.”
According to court records and testimony, Edwards served several years in the U.S. Army. In 1997, the U.S. Postal Service employed Edwards, and he earned around $65,000 yearly.
In May 2011, Edwards applied for pension benefits and falsely claimed that he did not have any income, that his home was his only asset, and had a medication condition that prevented him from working.
As a result, the VA approved Edwards’ application and paid him monthly pension benefits, totaling $230,000 from May 2011 to January 2022.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs reminded Edwards to report any changes to his income annually, and he failed to report his income adequately.