Indictment: Army veteran pretends to be blind to get VA benefits

Veteran caught driving himself from doctor's appointment


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An Army veteran is accused of pretending to be blind in order to pocket thousands of dollars in benefits. Agents say his scheme was busted after he was caught driving from his VA appointment.

The Department of Justice charged 61-year-old Billy K. Alumbaugh, of Turon, Kansas -- along with his ex-wife Debra K. Alumbaugh -- with conspiracy to defraud the government as well as theft of government funds.

According to the indictment unsealed last week, while specialists at the Veterans Administration hospital in Wichita were unable to identify medical reasons for his blindness, Billy was receiving a supplemental monthly pension as he claimed he was unable to drive, and needed assistance to perform routine activities such as reading medication labels, grocery shopping and going to doctor appointments. He collected $63,000.

However, from 2009 to 2016, while he was receiving this monthly money and making periodic trips to the VA, Billy maintained a Kansas driver’s license that did not require corrective lenses and routinely drove his car during that time.

In October of last year, the indictment says Billy was seen with Debra arriving at the VA hospital. She was driving and helped him out of the car and into the building. She did the same when the appointment was over, but after driving a few blocks, they stopped the car and switched seats so Billy could drive.

If convicted, the pair face up to five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on the conspiracy charge, and up to 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000 on the theft charge.