Former Marine arrested, accused of stealing $344K in VA benefit payments

SHELBURNE FALLS, Mass. (WWLP) – A former Marine from Massachusetts has been arrested for allegedly stealing benefit payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

According to the Department of Justice, 52-year-old Paul John Herbert was arrested Friday and indicted in federal court in Springfield on one count of theft of government money and one count of making false statements.

From January 1, 2010 to March 11, 2023, Herbert is believed to have stolen more than $344,000 in veterans disability benefits, according to the court documents. In addition, on October 24, 2018, he allegedly submitted an application for a Purple Heart award to the United States Marine Corps through his local Congressman, falsely stated that he had suffered injuries, including traumatic brain injury, from a roadside explosion while deployed to Northern Iraq.

If convicted, Herbert faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater for the theft of government money. The charge of making a false statement provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.

“Mr. Herbert’s alleged conduct is an affront to every veteran who has sacrificed to earn the honor of a Purple Heart and who is deserving of disability benefits,” said United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy. “According to the indictment, he not only stole tens of thousands of dollars in disability benefits that are supposed to be used to help veterans in need, but he also falsely claimed to have suffered a traumatic brain injury during his deployment in an effort to receive a Purple Heart he didn’t deserve.

“Every day, thousands of brave members of the military selflessly risk their lives to protect our country. Stealing from our country’s veterans or claiming valor where there is none is an insult to the honorable service members who sacrifice for our safety.”

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