Indictment: Veteran claiming blindness defrauded government

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -

An Army veteran has been indicted for pretending to be blind to collect $63,000 in benefits.

A federal indictment unsealed Thursday charges 61-year-old Billy J. Alumbaugh and his ex-wife, Debra K. Alumbaugh, both of Turon, with conspiracy to defraud the government and theft of government funds.

Court records do not show they have attorneys.

Prosecutors allege he fraudulently obtained a supplemental monthly pension of $700 between June 2009 and January 2017 by claiming he was legally blind.

The indictment says that in October 2016 his wife drove him to the VA hospital in Wichita and drove away with him after his appointment. But after a few blocks, the couple stopped the car and switched seats so he could drive.

He held a driver's license that did not require corrective lenses.

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