Man says he lied about military service to get cheaper health care

A Helena man who admitted to falsely claiming to have served in the U.S. Navy so he could receive health care benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was sentenced Monday, authorities said.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris sentenced Patrick John McKenna, 66, to three years of probation, with 180 days of home confinement, and ordered him to pay $46,075 restitution, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

McKenna pleaded guilty to health care fraud in August.

The government alleged in court documents that in August 2021, McKenna applied for health care benefits with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Health Administration and indicated on his application that he had served with the U.S. Navy from 1981 to 1984.

McKenna was approved for health care benefits and received VA-funded counseling services. He then applied for more benefits with the VA Veterans Benefits Administration. VBA representatives searched record systems and were unable to find any record of McKenna’s service, Laslovich said.

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