Man sentenced to 19 months in prison

Thompsontown man charged with health care fraud

HARRISBURG–Jason Ehrhart, 48, of Thompsontown, was sentenced last week to 19 months incarceration and was ordered to pay $316,360 in restitution, according to a recent news release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

In November, Erhart pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging him with one count of health care fraud for defrauding a disabled Veteran, the Veteran’s Administration and the Social Security Administration.

According to the news release, a U.S. army veteran and former resident of Perry County was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1985 and began receiving disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs in 1998. In 2006, the veteran began receiving disability benefits from the Social Security Administration and, in August 2006, the veteran was deemed by the VA to be incompetent to handle his own financial affairs. As a result, Ehrhart applied to serve as the veteran’s VA Fiduciary and Legal Custodian and was given that responsibility.

While serving as the veteran’s VA Fiduciary and Legal Custodian, Ehrhart deposited all of the veteran’s VA benefits, plus most of his Social Security disability checks, into a checking account he opened at the Orrstown Bank. Altogether, Ehrhart deposited $476,260 in federal benefits into the account between January 2009 and August 2016. At least $316,360 was misappropriated by Ehrhart and his former wife, Laurie Ehrhart, 48, of Newport, then converted to their own use between October 2006 and August 2016.

Erhart’s former wife also pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud, in December and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 6.