Colorado man who pretended to be blind sentenced for defrauding VA out of $1.3M

Posted at 4:37 PM, Apr 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-12 18:37:24-04

DENVER (AP) — A Colorado man has been sentenced to a year in prison for defrauding the Department of Veterans Affairs out of nearly $1.3 million by pretending to be blind.

Mike Blea, of Northglenn, was sentenced Wednesday and ordered to pay the VA $1,273,180 in restitution.

Investigators say Blea is a Vietnam veteran who started getting VA disability payments in 1969 for visual impairment. He did have a minor problem with his eyesight but started to exaggerate how bad it was.

Blea had eye exams outside of the VA system that showed his vision was correctable to 20/30 in one eye and 20/40 in another. He also had a driver's license and drove regularly.

U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn said after the sentence that "justice may be blind, but Mr. Blea isn't."