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Man with mental ills admits he stole $70K in care from Riviera VA

A 58-year-old Florida man with a 9th-grade education and a history of mental illness admitted Friday that he stole a former U.S. Marine’s identity to get nearly $70,000 worth of medical care from the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Riviera Beach.

Sitting in a wheelchair, Roy Underwood pleaded guilty to theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft. He faces a maximum 12-year prison term when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenberg on Aug. 16. He will also be required to repay the VA for the $68,655 in medical care he received fraudulently.

Underwood, who has spent the last eight months in a federal prison hospital after Rosenberg ruled he was incompetent to stand trial, said he is taking medicine to deal with his mental ills. He said he is bipolar. A prison psychologist said his competency had been restored.

In September 2015, officials said Underwood submitted an application for VA health services, using the name, birth date and Social Security number of a veteran, identified only as T.M., who lived in Alabama. With the phony application approved, Underwood was treated by the Riviera VA hospital until February 2016 when his scam was discovered.

There is no record Underwood ever served in the military, officials said. Underwood said he had a previous felony conviction. Records show he was convicted of attempted first-degree sexual assault on a child in Nebraska in 1984. He was charged in Volusia County with failing to register as a sex offender.

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