Franklin repays $75K, will serve 6 months

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 7, 2013

An Andalusia man who pleaded guilty to a two-count federal indictment for stealing more than $75,000 in VA pension benefits will spend six months in prison and must pay back more than $75,000 to the federal government.

Tony Joseph, public affairs officer of the Tallahassee, Fla., U.S. Attorney prosecutorial office, said John “Randy” Franklin was arrested July 25 in Pensacola, Fla., by a special agent with the Office of the Inspector General with the U.S. Veterans Affairs.

Joseph said the indictment stated that between Nov. 17, 2008, and May 31, 2013, Franklin stole $75,246 in veterans’ administration benefits by filing “false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and representations…that he was surviving off of his VA pension payments and had

no other money, whereas, in truth and in fact, and as (he) well knew, (he) possessed at least four separate cashier checks in the amounts of $25,000 each.”

On Thursday, Franklin was sentenced to six months concurrent time on each count and was ordered to pay back the stolen money as well as a $100 special monetary assessment on each count.

He also was ordered to serve three years under supervised release once he is released from prison.

Joseph said Franklin is to surrender himself to the U.S. Marshal Office in Montgomery no later than noon on Jan. 13, 2014.

In a written statement provided to The Star-News, Franklin, a Vietnam-era veteran, thanked the community for their support and took responsibility for his actions.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to ask forgiveness from the citizens of the City of Andalusia and the area veterans, spouses of veterans and their families that have sacrificed in the defense of our nation,” Franklin said.

He also provided The Star-News proof that the money ordered as restitution is paid in full.