By City News Service
A former Camp Pendleton Marine captain admitted to defrauding the U.S. Marine Corps and the Department of Veterans Affairs out of thousands of dollars while stationed at the North County installation from 2009 to 2011, it was announced recently.
Capt. Shawn A. Joyce of Stafford, Va. was discharged from active duty in 2008, then entered the Marine Corps Reserve, where he received orders to return to active duty at Camp Pendleton. Reservists called to active duty can, in some circumstances, become eligible for housing reimbursement in addition to the basic housing allowance they are allotted.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Joyce detailed in his plea agreement that he falsely claimed reimbursement for rent he never paid, including claims he was paying up to $4,030 in rent per month for an address in Solana Beach in 2009 and 2010, and $3,700 a month in Fountain Valley in Orange County in 2011.
Joyce submitted false rental receipts and created a fake email address in the name of a former landlord to facilitate the fraud.
As part of his plea agreement, Joyce also admitted to a separate scheme to bilk money from the Department of Veterans Affairs by not advising the department he was back on active duty so it would continue to pay him disability benefits. Under federal law, a service member receiving VA disability benefits is not entitled to simultaneously receive active duty pay, authorities said.
Joyce also contacted the VA occasionally and tried to increase the amount of his disability payments.
`With our nation’s military budget being strained to the breaking point, fraud that drains funds needed by the U.S. Marine Corps and our veterans, will not be tolerated,’’ U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy said.
Joyce pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and acknowledged defrauding the Department of Defense of $48,740 and the VA of $41,862. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 18.