83-year-old pleads not guilty to falsifying Veterans Affairs travel vouchers

Posted Aug. 28, 2013, at 10:33 a.m.
Last modified Aug. 28, 2013, at 1:21 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — An 83-year-old Lincoln man pleaded not guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court to falsifying travel vouchers submitted to Veterans Affairs.

William D. Brundage admitted that he received more than $6,700 in reimbursements for travel from Lincoln to Augusta when in fact he received a ride from a fellow veteran to the Togus Veterans Affairs Medical Center, according to the complaint.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk released Brundage on $5,000 unsecured bail with conditions that he not travel outside the U.S., and he remove a firearm from his home. Brundage’s travel was restricted to Maine, New York and the states in between, so he may continue visiting his son once a month. He also was ordered to abstain from drinking alcohol.

The Korean War veteran allegedly received reimbursements illegally between Jan. 20, 2011, and Feb. 15, 2013. He received $6,754, and the person who drove him to the facility received $5,915 during the same time period, the complaint said.

The Bangor Daily News is not naming the person who drove Brundage to Augusta because he has not been charged with a crime.

Brundage has a permit that only allows him to drive a vehicle if a licensed driver is in the car with him, according to the complaint.

Matthew Erickson, the Brewer attorney appointed to represent Brundage, said after the arraignment that his client “does not want to get benefits he is not entitled to receive. I think there’s more to the story.”

Brundage was charged after he failed to respond to a letter, dated May 16, that told him to contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office by May 13, according to the complaint. When he did not respond, a Lincoln police officer on June 24 delivered a copy of the letter in person to Brundage.

Two days later, personnel at Togus urged Brundage to contact the clerk’s office at the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building in Bangor, the complaint said. When Brundage did not contact the court or the federal prosecutor’s office by Aug. 15, the charges were filed.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James McCarthy declined to comment on the case. It is the practice of the U.S. Attorney’s Office not to comment on pending cases.

If convicted, Brundage faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He also could be ordered to pay restitution to the Veterans Affairs.

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