CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)–A Mingo County woman was indicted on April 4 for allegedly stealing more than $180,000 worth of Veterans Affairs (VA) compensation benefits.
According to the indictment, Jessica Horton continued to collect money from the VA belonging to her great-aunt. The great-aunt began to receive VA benefits after her husband died in World War II in 1944. Horton’s great-aunt received the checks once a month from 1945 to 1999.
The indictment says the benefits were supposed to be stopped in February 1999 when Horton’s great-aunt died. However, Horton’s mother who was the great-aunt’s niece, and had access to the P.O. Box continued to forge, endorse and spend the money.
According to court documents, Horton’s mother died in February 2011, at which time Horton put the P.O. box in her own name, paid the rental fees for the box and continued to retrieve the benefits. Horton opened various bank accounts at First National Bank in Williamson, West Virginia to cash the checks.
According to the indictment, Horton received, converted and spent the VA compensation money once a month from February 2011 to January 2023. The value of the VA compensation benefits that Horton allegedly took totals $182,867.58.
Horton will appear for arraignment before a Magistrate Judge on April 12 at 10:45 a.m. at the Robert C. Byrd United States Courthouse in Charleston, West Virginia.
Horton is being charged with Theft of government benefits.