Elderly Lake Mary woman pleads guilty to stealing nearly $150K from VA

A 70-year-old Lake Mary woman is facing up to a decade in prison after pleading guilty to stealing thousands of dollars in benefit payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

On Thursday, U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg of the Middle District of Florida announced that Priscilla Sumner has pleaded guilty to theft of government money. She faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.

As part of her plea, Sumner has agreed to forfeit $149,084.45, which is the total proceeds of her criminal conduct.

According to the plea agreement, Sumner was the fiduciary for a disabled family member’s Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. In February of 2015, she failed to notify the VA of a change in the beneficiary’s living situation that would have reduced the benefits amount.

Sumner then proceeded to use the excess funds, which were no longer needed to care for the disabled veteran, to pay for her own personal expenses. In addition, she falsified VA accounting forms in an attempt to cover up her misuse of the funds.

This case was investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General’s Southeast Field Office and the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Suzanne Huyler and Matthew Del Mastro.

Sumner is scheduled to be sentenced on June 24, 2024.

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