VAOIG Seal U.S. Department Of Veterans Affairs
Office of Inspector General
Office of Investigations
Washington, DC 20420
(202) 565-7702
Tuesday, December 09, 1997
Port St. Lucie Painter Sentenced
Richard J. Griffin, Inspector General, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), announced today that in U.S. District Court, Ft. Pierce, FL, William Alfred Hitt, Port St. Lucie, FL. was sentenced to 46 months' imprisonment, 3 years' supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution of $447,182.

Griffin stated that on July 25, 1997, Hitt was convicted on 40 counts of mail and wire fraud, and false statements. It was proven at trial that since 1975 Hitt posed as a wheelchair bound veteran who had lost the use of his right arm and right leg. It also was proven that he applied for benefits and received $500,000 in non-taxable benefits including checks, and medical and dental care, and other benefits from VA. Testimony from business people, contractors, physicians and nurses established that Hitt was not disabled and, in fact, co-owned a successful painting business in the Port St. Lucie area. The testimony also confirmed that Hitt routinely painted homes and office buildings as part of his work.

Griffin said this conviction was the result of an investigation conducted by his Southeast Field Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John S. Kastrenakes, West Palm Beach, FL.