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Army veteran faked blindness to get federal benefits

WICHITA, Kan. — An Army veteran from Reno County has admitted he pretended to be blind in order to receive more than $70,000 in benefits.

U.S. Attorney Tom Beall announced Thursday that 62-year-old Billy Alumbaugh, of Turon, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government. His ex-wife, 58-year-old Debra Alumbaugh, also of Turon, pleaded guilty to concealing the crime.

Alumbaugh admitted that he received special monthly pension benefits after falsely telling the Veterans Administration he was blind and homebound. In reality, Alumbaugh was able to drive and take part in other routine activities without assistance.

Beall says Alumbaugh's wife accompanied him to medical visits in which they pretended he was blind and needed her assistance.

Sentencing is set for Sept. 6.

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