Lexington Park Woman Sentenced To 30 Months In Federal Prison For Obtaining Over $1 Million In Fraudulent Disability Benefits
Oct 28, 2022
From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Maryland:
Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis sentenced Angela Marie Farr, age 36, of Lexington Park, Maryland, yesterday to 30 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, for conspiracy to commit theft of government property and for theft of government property, in connection with a scheme to obtain fraudulently disability benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) and the Social Security Administration (“SSA”). Judge Xinis also ordered Farr to forfeit an amount equal to the proceeds obtained as a result of the fraud by paying a money judgment of $475,751, and ordered Farr pay restitution in the full amount of the government’s losses, which is at least $1,010,702.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Kim R. Lampkins, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Inspector General (OIG), Mid-Atlantic Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Michael McGill of the Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG), Philadelphia Field Division.
According to her guilty plea, Farr organized a conspiracy in which she submitted false and fraudulent documents to the VA in support of her disability compensation claims, as well as for the disability claims for her then-husband, Michael Vincent Pace, and for her father, Individual 1. The fraudulent documents stated that Farr, Pace, and Individual 1 were homebound and required full-time assistance for basic tasks such as eating, bathing, and dressing. In fact, all three individuals lived active lives and did not require such assistance.
Farr served in the U.S. Navy from August 2, 2005 until April 19, 2007, when she was administratively discharged. In 2009, Farr filed a claim to the VA for disability compensation stating that she suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after being sexually assaulted while on duty three years earlier. At the same time, Farr also falsely claimed to the VA that she was seriously injured in a traffic accident when she was struck by a drunk driver while driving on duty in 2006. Farr claimed that she suffered from chronic neck and back pain as a result of the accident.
In support of these claims, Farr filed an entirely fabricated medical record allegedly from the Navy consisting of over 70 pages of documents purportedly authored by criminal investigators, psychologists, and physical therapists. Based on the injuries claimed and the forged supporting medical documentation, on October 6, 2007, the VA rated Farr 70 percent disabled.
In 2015, Farr sought additional compensation claiming that she suffered a traumatic brain injury and other grave health consequences as a result of the 2007 vehicle accident. Farr again submitted dozens of forged fraudulent medical documents in support of her claim, using the names of both real and fictitious physicians. The documents claimed that Farr was paralyzed from the waist down, suffered multiple seizures daily, required round-the-clock care for basic functions such as toileting and showering, and claimed that she also suffered from an aneurysm, heart attack, and leukemia. Based on the fraudulent documentation, VA increased Farr’s disability rating to 100 percent, and awarded Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) for her in-home nursing care requirements.
In approximately April 2016, Farr applied online for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits on the basis of the same disabilities she cited in her VA claims. In that application, Farr claimed that she was unable to work, despite the fact that she was working for the Department of Defense at the time she applied, but claimed she was forced to medically retire. The Social Security Administration awarded SSDI benefits to Farr on September 17, 2016.
Farr also conspired with and assisted Pace, a former member of the United States military, to exaggerate his existing condition using forged and fraudulent documents, resulting in an increased rating of 100%. Pace received the highest amount of disability compensation and SMC paid by the VA, in addition to a Caregiver Stipend he received in the amount exceeding $2,500 monthly, for purportedly serving as Farr’s caregiver, despite claiming to be completely disabled himself.
Farr also conspired with her mother, Mary Francis Biggs, age 65 of Lexington Park, Maryland, to exaggerate Individual 1’s claims, which involved the submission of fraudulent and fictitious medical documents. As a result, the VA rated Individual 1 to be 100 percent disabled and awarded him SMC. Biggs and Farr also conspired to conceal from VA the fact that Individual 1 was working, and as part of a VA field interview on September 13, 2017, Biggs did not disclose the fact that Individual 1was employed and completed a form stating that Individual 1 had no employment income. Biggs spent the fraudulently received disability compensation payments on daily living expenses, cruise vacations, and a kitchen renovation, even though she was aware that her husband was not entitled to the payments.
Farr received approximately $440,085 in VA benefits and approximately $35,666 in Social Security benefit payments, resulting in a loss to the United States of $475,751 on Farr’s claims alone. Pace received $370,912 in VA benefits to which he was not entitled. Biggs and her husband received more than $168,000 in VA benefits to which they were not entitled.
Pace previously pled guilty, and Biggs was convicted on August 15, 2022 after a jury trial, for conspiracy and for theft of government property in connection with the scheme. Biggs faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for the conspiracy and a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for theft of government property. U.S. District Judge Xinis has scheduled sentencing for November 16, 2022.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the VA OIG and SSA OIG for their work in the investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Coreen Mao, who is prosecuting the case.
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