LUMBERTON — A 41-year-old Navy veteran will serve five years in federal prison and must repay nearly $900,000 he received from the Department of Veterans Affairs by claiming false war injuries, according to the United States Attorney General’s Office.
Following his sentence, Ronnie Glenn Eddings will also serve three months supervised probation for the scam that spanned nearly six years, according to a statement released on Tuesday.
Eddings claimed he was injured while serving in Saudi Arabia and was confined to a wheelchair with progressively worsening symptoms, according to the statement.
In 1994, Eddings applied for compensation through the Department of Veterans Affairs and, after a medical exam, was awarded 100 percent disability. According to the statement, Eddings applied for and was granted an increase in benefits in 1996, saying his health problems were growing worse.
The Department of Veterans Affairs learned in 1999 that Eddings wanted to become a law enforcement officer and had been employed for about five months as a transportation officer with a sheriff’s office, according to the statement. Further investigation showed that Eddings had also been employed as a security officer and a social worker, positions requiring tasks that could not be performed by someone in a wheelchair.
According to a December 2002 statement from by The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Eddings graduated with a bachelor of science degree in Social Work. A photograph that was published with a story at that time showed him accepting his degree in a wheelchair with a companion dog.