Two Plead Guilty in Federal Court in Louisiana in Connection with Wire Fraud Scheme to Defraud The Department of Veteran Affairs
New Orleans, Louisiana – Two people have pleaded guilty in federal court in Louisiana for their involvement in a wire fraud scheme to defraud the Department of Veteran Affairs.
On May 24, 2023, U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that James “Jay” Sinyard, age 61, and Mary “Gigi” Sinyard, age 58, have each pled guilty in federal court relating to their roles in a wire fraud scheme to defraud the Department of Veterans Affairs.
On May 18, 2023, before Chief U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown, James Sinyard and Mary Sinyard pled guilty to a one-count bill of information charging them with wire fraud in violation of Title18, United States Code, Section 1343.
The bill of information said that VetAttend of Jackson was located in Jackson, Mississippi. Starting in or around April 2013 and continuing until at least December 2020, the Sinyards deliberately devised a conspiracy to defraud the Department of Veterans Affairs by generating fake affidavits stating services had been given by VetAttend to veterans in need of home aid and attendance.
To carry out this fraud, the Sinyards submitted over a hundred applications to the Department of Veterans Affairs for veterans and/or their surviving spouses, falsely claiming that VetAttend of Jackson was already providing services to these veterans. From approximately August 2014 to approximately December 2020, the VA issued funds to over 70 veterans and/or their surviving spouses as a result of these fictitious affidavits, from which VetAttend of Jackson misappropriated approximately $2,136,329.68 in fraudulent funds relating to the false affidavits of services provided.
“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,” said Special Agent in Charge Kris Raper with the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General’s South-Central Field Office.
The sentencing date for James Sinyard and Mary Sinyard has been set for September 28, 2023.
Each defendant risks a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison, a $250,000 fine, three (3) years supervised release, and an obligatory $100 special assessment charge.
The US Attorney’s Office applauded the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General’s work.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kathryn McHugh of the Financial Crimes Unit.