A U.S. Army veteran who collected disability benefits for blindness has been placed on three years of probation and ordered to repay the government $70,000 because it turns out he can see, the Associated Press reports.
Billy J. Alumbaugh, a 62-year-old resident of Turon, Kansas, with fully functioning eyeballs, was sentenced in federal court on Sept. 7 after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government.
Alumbaugh convinced the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Wichita he was blind and homebound back in 2009 and, with a little help from his ex-wife, kept up the ruse until last year. Alumbaugh received monthly pension benefits for his fake disability that entire time.
Fifty-two-year-old Debra Alumbaugh, who pretended to be her ex-husband’s caretaker during medical visits, was sentenced to a year on probation for her role in the scheme.
And they would’ve gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for Alumbaugh’s habit of zipping around town in his automobile. According to The Kansas City Star, Alumbaugh maintained a driver’s license for the duration of the hoax, and drove his car “regularly.”
The couple was finally caught one day last October, when they were seen pulling up to the VA in Wichita with Debra behind the wheel as usual. However, after the visit, something strange happened. A few blocks from the clinic, Debra got out of the car and switched places with her ex-husband so he could drive.
Alumbaugh now owes the government $70,000. On the plus side, Uber is currently hiring licensed drivers in Wichita.