Monday, November 07, 2005

O'Fallon woman guilty of bilking agencies

BellevilleNewsDemocrat, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Posted on Wed, Nov. 02, 2005

O'Fallon woman guilty of bilking agencies



An O'Fallon woman will spend three years and one month in federal prison for bilking the Department of Veterans Affairs and Social Security Administration of more than $244,000.

Barbara L. Larrubia, 44, of 106 Sherryl Court, pleaded guilty in federal court in East St. Louis to mail fraud charges and making false statements to the Social Security Administration.

Larrubia received a medical discharge from the Air Force based on a diagnosis of reflex sympathetic dystrophy in 1994.

Later that year, she applied for VA benefits, stating that she injured her right knee while in the Air Force and the condition was worsened by nerve damage during surgery to repair the knee.

In October 1996, Larrubia falsely represented to the VA that she could not longer walk and was confined to a wheelchair. The VA increased her payments.

In May 1997, Larrubia filed for Social Security benefits and stated she was unable to walk or drive. She began receiving Social Security benefits.

The Drug Enforcement Administration searched Larrubia's home while investigating her for illegally obtaining prescription drugs on Feb. 9, 2001. When the investigative team learned about her VA disability status, they reported to the agency that Larrubia could walk.

On Nov. 28, 2001, the VA set Larrubia's disability level at 20 percent. She appealed.

On Sept. 4, 2003, Larrubia told a Social Security employee that she was totally disabled and unable to walk or drive. But during her trip to the Social Security Administration, agents conducted surveillance and spotted her stopping at two gas stations. Later, she was spotted shopping at a grocery store, according to court records.

Larrubia was ordered to pay $244,455 in restitution.

Contact reporter Beth Hundsdorfer at or 239-2570.

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