A Chelsea man was sentenced Monday to five years of federal probation and ordered to pay $2,910.41 restitution for travel reimbursement he received.

Victor Paul Lawrence, 64, had pleaded guilty in July to theft of Veterans Administration Travel Benefits.

Both the sentencing and the guilty plea were held at U.S. District Court in Bangor.

According to the prosecution, Lawrence submitted 77 claims for travel reimbursement between Togus and Anson when he actually lived in Chelsea close to the hospital.

Court papers say the claims submitted in 2015 and 2016 for travel reimbursement claim that he had driven nearly 100 miles round-trip to obtain treatment between August 2015 and October 2016.

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

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.

The charge carried a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Lawrence was convicted in 1987 in Augusta of five counts each of gross sexual misconduct and unlawful sexual contact. He spent five years in prison and a number of years on probation. He remains a lifetime registrant under the state’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Moore, had sought a six-month prison term for Lawrence, saying it was warranted by his criminal history and the number of occasions on which the false claims were submitted.

Lawrence’s attorney, James Nixon, asked that Lawrence receive a probation sentence of between one and five years. Nixon wrote in a sentencing memo that Lawrence is needed at home to care for his ailing wife and drive her for medical treatments.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.