Army veteran claimed to be blind, drove car to VA appointments

An Army veteran from Kansas is facing conspiracy and theft charges after he allegedly pretended to be blind and received compensation for it.

The federal indictment claims that Billy J. Alumbaugh, 61, collected $63,000 in benefits from the government while pretending to be blind.

Alumbaugh made periodic trips to the Veterans Administration hospital in Wichita, where specialists were unable to identify medical reasons for his blindness, according to the indictment. He received supplemental assistance for this from 2009 until 2016, even though he was maintaining a valid Kansas driver’s license that did not require corrective lenses.

The indictment claims Alumbaugh routinely drove his vehicle during this time period. In October 2016, Alumbaugh and his ex-wife, Debra K. Alumbaugh, were seen at the VA hospital in Wichita. She drove to the appointment, and after it was over, drove away from the building. After they got a few blocks away from the VA, they switched seats so he could drive, according to the indictment.

The Alumbaughs are charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the government and one count of theft of government funds. If convicted they face up to 5 years in federal prison and $250,000 fine on the first charge and up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the second charge.