Another scammer behind bars

8-3 Page 4A.inddA former Marine in Nevada has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for a nationwide scam involving millions of dollars taken from the pockets of trusting people.

The scam involved Nigerian oil wherein the perp claimed to be a Shell Oil heir, an oil expert who’d already sunk $500 million of his trust fund into the venture. Investors’ dollars would go toward the purchase of an oil refinery in the Bahamas, where the crude oil would be shipped. Among the charges were conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, passing a fictitious financial instrument, lying to the feds and failure to file income-tax returns. Oh, and he also submitted false claims to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The good: He’s going away for a very long time.

The bad: While the case dragged on, he was a free man. For over two years his attorneys filed repeated objections or requests for delay. It was the tenth one where the judge drew the line: DENIED, it said on the court documents, when an attorney claimed he hadn’t had enough time to review the case.

Why, one wonders, if he was raking in all that dough, did he also insist on defrauding the VA? Part of the multi-agency suit against him was for claiming service-related injury, which got him “decades” worth of disability benefits totaling thousands of dollars per month.

How was he injured? He hurt his knee playing basketball in 1970 and was given a medical discharge. Apparently he claimed benefits for his knee all these years, saying he couldn’t work.

Which begs the question: How is it that he could claim benefits for so many years without anyone checking? Without even being brought in for an examination or X-rays? Wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that a basketball injury might get better in a few years?

(c) 2016 King Features Synd., Inc.