An Athens woman pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring to defraud the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, authorities said.

Lisa-Marie Watson, 25, now faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II.

Watson, who entered the guilty plea in U.S. District Court, conspired with her father-in-law to obtain VA compensation benefits illegally, according to the release. They submitted documents to the VA claiming Watson suffered from mental disabilities stemming from her service in the Army, but Watson “falsely described her mental condition to VA doctors,” the release said.

Her father-in-law, David Watson, pleaded guilty Nov. 18 to engaging in a conspiracy to defraud the VA, and he is awaiting sentencing.

The investigation into the Watsons was conducted by the criminal investigation division of the VA Office of the Inspector General.


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