MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 52-year-old St. Cloud man pleaded guilty in Minneapolis Federal Court on Thursday to stealing more than $54,000 in benefits that were paid to surviving spouses of veterans who died in military action.
Mitchell George Pederson pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government funds in connection with the incident. He was indicted on Aug. 17.
According to the plea agreement, Pederson admitted that over a four-year span he stole dependency and indemnity compensation benefits. Those are benefits that are paid to surviving spouses of veterans who have died in military action who have not remarried, and to surviving spouses who have remarried but are at least 57 years old.
Those benefits were being paid to Pederson’s mother, who died in 2004. They should have been terminated after she died, but he continued to deposit them into his account. The total amount came out to $54,083.
Pederson faces up to 10 years in prison for the crime.