Woman avoids prison for helping to defraud disabled veteran of $316K

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A Perry County woman will not serve prison time for helping her former husband defraud his brother, a disabled veteran, out of more than $300,000.

Laurie Ehrhart, 48, of New Bloomfield, was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court to six months of home confinement and two years of probation. She pleaded guilty in December to one count of health care fraud.

Her husband, 48-year-old Jason Ehrhart, of Thompsontown, also pleaded guilty to health care fraud and was sentenced in April to 19 months in prison.

U.S. Attorney David Freed’s office said Jason Ehrhart successfully applied to serve as his brother’s legal custodian in 2006 after the brother, Michael Ehrhart, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis while serving in the U.S. Army.

Michael Ehrhart received $476,260 in Social Security and VA benefits from October 2006 to August 2016.

Prosecutors said Jason and Laurie Ehrhart misspent $316,360 of those benefits on personal expenses, including two all-expense paid Disney World vacations, two automobiles, and dental work for their best friends.

Jason Ehrhart submitted false statements to the VA to conceal his embezzlements, claiming he paid the mortgage on his brother’s home and his brother’s share of the mortgage on his mother’s home after she died in May 2011. The lenders obtained default judgments and both properties were eventually foreclosed and sold.

Jason Ehrhart also claimed he spent about $32,395 for maintenance of his brother’s specially equipped wheelchair van, which was found broken down and abandoned along a road, prosecutors said.

Michael Ehrhart died at the Lebanon VA Hospital in July 2018. As part of their sentences, Jason and Laurie Ehrhart were ordered to pay $316,360 restitution to his son.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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