Fairbanks man convicted of fraud

Posted: Sunday, May 04, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) A 68-year-old man was convicted Friday of defrauding the Veterans Administration.

Donald Hymes was found guilty of all 45 charges he faced, ranging from mail fraud to money laundering and illegal conversion of U.S. currency.

During a weeklong trial, prosecutor Steve Cooper said Hymes schemed to receive monthly VA checks sent to his mother, the widow of a veteran, even after she died in 1990.

Cooper said Hymes received $63,000. He could only be charged for checks received during the last five years because of a statute of limitations.

Hymes represented himself. On Friday, he objected to U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline's refusal to postpone the trial. Hymes said he did not have sufficient time to develop a strategy after Cooper rested his case before calling all the people on his witness list.

As for the charges, Hymes said, many would require jurors to find that he knowingly engaged in an illegal scheme to collect checks, something that he denied.

My mother told me I was entitled to it, and the VA never told me any different,'' Hymes said.

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