A Navy veteran who committed fraud charges by running a business despite claiming unemployment and workers' compensation benefits has been sentenced to two years in federal custody, court officials announced.
Leray Shurn, 59, received the prison term in U.S. District Court in San Diego Monday, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
While handing down the sentence, Judge Thomas Whelan also ordered Shurn to pay $357,977 in restitution – roughly equal to the amount he was accused of improperly receiving – along with a $5,000 fine.
In January, a jury found Shurn guilty of 16 criminal counts in connection with acts of fraud that spanned more than five years.
According to evidence presented at trial, Shurn falsely stated to the Navy and Department of Veterans Affairs that back and knee injuries prevented him from working as a naval civilian employee.
Shurn also made bogus claims that he was not engaged in any employment, was not self-employed, was not involved in any business enterprises and did not have an ownership interest in any business enterprises, prosecutors told the jurors.
At trial, the panel heard and saw evidence, including video recordings, showing that Shurn operated a landscaping business during the period in which he was making the phony representations of his physical condition.
While running the operation, Shurn personally performed landscaping work for numerous customers, provided customers with his business card for "Leray's Landscaping," gave them monthly invoices and told suppliers he was in business, prosecutors alleged.– City News Service