A Chelsea man has pleaded guilty in federal court to theft of veterans’ benefits.

Court papers say Victor Lawrence, 63, had submitted 77 claims in 2015 and 2016 for travel reimbursement, claiming that he had driven nearly 100 miles round-trip from Anson each time to obtain treatment between August 2015 and October 2016.

In fact, he lived less than 6 miles from the VA Maine Healthcare Systems — Togus campus.

The estimated value of the travel benefits is more than $1,000.

In the investigation detailed in court papers, an agent in the VA Office of Inspector General watched Lawrence travel from his Chelsea thrift shop to Togus more than half a dozen times on days he had scheduled appointments and back to his thrift shop.

Investigators found that Lawrence, who was renting a home in Chelsea, had not been observed living in Anson for about a year as of August 2016.

Agents investigating the case said in court papers that Lawrence admitted he had submitted the fraudulent claims intentionally to cover expenses at his thrift shop.

Lawrence faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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