Florida vet, 71, faked blindness for 22 years for benefits

The seal of the Department of Veterans Affairs is seen on the building in Washington, Friday, June 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Bradenton veteran who pretended to be blind for more than two decades was sentenced Wednesday to nine months of home detention and five years of probation for theft of government funds.

Doyle Mullins, Jr., 71, pleaded guilty in October 2017 to stealing from the government.

According to court documents, between 1995 and 2017, Mullins, a Vietnam war veteran, repeatedly lied to the Department of Veterans Affairs by falsely claiming that he was totally and permanently blind and collected thousands of dollars each month in recurring disability payments from the government, grants from the VA for a car and adaptive housing, and medical benefits payments for his wife.

Mullins told the VA he was unable to drive, work or perform household tasks, but he was observed driving, mowing his lawn, running errands, and banking.

As part of his sentence, Mullins must also pay $583,485.74 in restitution.

This case was investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General.

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