An Army veteran who received $300,000 in benefits over the course of several years is facing more than a decade in prison after investigators discovered that she was faking her disability.
A federal jury in Jacksonville found her guilty on Thursday.
A trip that Crystel Lee Riedling, 44, took with her daughter to Disney World in Orlando turned out to be a key piece of evidence as investigators unraveled the scam that began in 2009.
Riedling, of Lake City, Florida, was injured while serving in the Army in 2003 and was receiving benefits because she claimed that she was completely unable to use her right arm, court documents said.
She continued to emphasize the severity of her injury when she was interviewed at her home by agents from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration in June 2015.
"So you have no use of your right hand whatsoever?" one of the agents asked, according to a transcript of the interview.
"No," she replied.
"OK, we have a slight problem, all right?" the agent said.
The agents told Riedling that she had been under investigation, and they had surveillance video of her using her hand during a trip to Disney World with her daughter, court documents said.
They said Riedling had been recorded numerous times using her hand as part of a "massive, massive amount of investigation," the transcript said.
Riedling gave the agents a statement in which she admitted that she had "stated I was more disabled that I was."
"I know that this is completely wrong," she wrote.
Riedling was indicted last February on charges of theft of government property and making a false statement.
Riedling, who will be sentenced on April 11, faces up to 15 years in prison.
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Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC