Leonardtown Woman Pleads Guilty to Organizing a Conspiracy to Fraudulently Obtain Over $1 Million in Disability Benefits
From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Maryland:
Greenbelt, Maryland – Angela Marie Farr, age 36, of Leonardtown, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit theft of government property and two counts of theft of government property in connection with a scheme to fraudulently obtain disability benefits from the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). The total loss to the United States as a result of the fraud scheme is at least $1,010,702.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Kim R. Lampkins, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Inspector General (OIG), Mid-Atlantic Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Michael McGill of the Social Security Administration - Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG), Philadelphia Field Division.
“Angela Farr took advantage of a program whose goal was to help others, but did the exact opposite in her efforts to fraudulently obtain VA disability benefits,” said United States Attorney Erek L. Barron. “We remain committed to the prosecution of those, like Farr, who steal benefits intended to assist military veterans whose service to our country honorably has left them with a disability.”
“The VA Office of Inspector General works diligently to identify those who would steal benefits intended for qualified veterans,” said VA OIG Special Agent in Charge Kim Lampkins. “The VA OIG thanks its law enforcement partners for their commitment in helping hold these defendants accountable.”
According to her guilty plea, Farr organized a conspiracy in which she submitted false and fraudulent documents to the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) in support of her claims for disability compensation, as well as for the disability claims for her then-husband, and for her father. The fraudulent documents stated that Farr, her husband, and her father were homebound and required full-time assistance for basic tasks such as eating, bathing, and dressing. In fact, all three individuals lived ordinary, active lives.
As detailed in her plea agreement, Farr served in the U.S. Navy from August 2, 2005 until April 19, 2007, when she was administratively discharged. In 2009, Farr filed a claim for Disability Compensation stating that she suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after being sexually assaulted while on duty three years earlier. At the same time, Farr also falsely claimed to VA that she was seriously injured in a traffic accident when she was struck by a drunk driver while driving on duty in 2006. Farr claimed that she suffered from chronic neck and back pain as a result of the accident.
In support of these claims, Farr filed an entirely fabricated medical record purportedly from the Navy consisting of over 70 pages of documents supposedly authored by criminal investigators, psychologists, and physical therapists. Based on the injuries claimed and the forged supporting medical documentation, the VA rated Farr 70 percent disabled as of October 6, 2007.
In 2015, Farr sought additional compensation claiming that she suffered a traumatic brain injury and other grave health consequences as a result of the 2007 vehicle accident. Farr again submitted dozens of forged fraudulent medical documents in support of her claim, using the names of both real and fictitious physicians. The documents claimed that Farr was paralyzed from the waist down, suffered multiple seizures daily, required round-the-clock care for basic functions such as toileting and showering, and claimed that she also suffered from an aneurysm, heart attack, and leukemia. Based on the fraudulent documentation, VA increased Farr’s disability rating to 100 percent, and awarded Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) for her in-home nursing care requirements.
In April 2016, Farr applied online for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits on the basis of the same disabilities she cited in her VA claims. In that application, Farr claimed that she was unable to work and was forced to medically retire, despite the fact that she was working for the Department of Defense at the time she applied. The Social Security Administration awarded SSDI benefits to Farr on September 17, 2016.
Farr received approximately $440,085 in VA benefits to which she was not entitled, and approximately $35,666 in Social Security benefit payments to which she was not entitled, resulting in a loss to the United States of $475,751 just on Farr’s claims alone. As outlined in her plea agreement, Farr will be required to forfeit an amount equal to the proceeds obtained as a result of the fraud by paying a money judgment of $475,751, and will be ordered to pay restitution in the full amount of the victims’ losses, which is at least $1,010,702.
Farr also admitted that she conspired with and assisted her then-husband and her father, both of whom are former members of the U.S. Military, to obtain additional disability benefits by exaggerating their existing claims and documenting those exaggerated claims with forged and fraudulent documentation. As a result, Farr’s father was found to be 100 percent disabled and was awarded SMC. Farr’s then-husband received the highest amount of disability compensation and SMC paid by VA, in addition to a Caregiver Assistance stipend of more than $2,500 per month, that he received for purportedly servicing as Farr’s caregiver, despite claiming to be completely disabled himself and unable to use his arms and legs. At the time, Farr’s husband regularly attended a local CrossFit gym. In total, Farr’s then-husband received $370,912 in VA benefits to which he was not entitled. Farr’s father received $168,074 in VA benefits to which he was not entitled, from which the VA has recovered approximately $4,035. At the time of the claims, Farr’s father was a civilian employee of the Navy, supervising a logistics unit of 25 people.
Farr faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for the conspiracy and a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for each of the two counts of theft of government property. U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis has scheduled sentencing for August 4, 2022.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the VA OIG and SSA OIG for their work in the investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael F. Davio, who is prosecuting the case.