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Mississippi couple pleads guilty to $2M VA fraud scheme

Veterans Affairs Regional Benefit Office Jackson, MS
Veterans Affairs Regional Benefit Office Jackson, Miss. (courtesy of the VA)

A Mississippi couple has pleaded guilty in federal court for their roles in a wire fraud scheme to defraud the Department of Veterans Affairs.

61-year-old James “Jay” Sinyard and 58-year-old Mary “GiGi” Sinyard operated a company called VetAttend of Jackson, where they claimed to provide services to veterans for home aid and assistance.

The Sinyards submitted fraudulent affidavits for home aid services to be provided despite knowing that those services were not actually provided from April 2013 to December 2020.

To operate this scheme, the Sinyards submitted over 100 applications for veterans and/or their surviving spouses to the Department of Veterans Affairs, falsely indicating that VetAttend of Jackson was already providing services to these veterans. As a result of these false affidavits, the VA issued $2,136,329.68 in funds to over 70 veterans and/or their surviving spouses.

“Today’s guilty plea sends a clear message to those who would exploit veterans to commit fraud that they will be investigated and held accountable,” Kris Raper with the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General’s South-Central Field Office said.

The court set the sentencing of the couple for September 28. Each defendant faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, up to a $250,000 fine, up to three years of supervised release, and a mandatory $100 special assessment fee.

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