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Stafford Springs man pleads guilty to scamming veterans

U.S. Military veterans

U.S. Military veterans

HARTFORD — A Connecticut man has pleaded guilty to scamming more than a dozen military veterans out of more than $500,000 by promising to get them benefits that they never received.

Federal prosecutors said Monday that 69-year-old John Simon Jr., of Stafford Springs, pleaded guilty to mail fraud and structuring currency transactions.

Authorities say Simon, a Vietnam veteran, told veterans that if they paid him he would help them get new or increased benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs or the Social Security Administration. Instead, he kept the money for personal use.

Prosecutors say many of the veterans scammed suffer from service-related disabilities and chronic illnesses.

Simon defrauded 15 veterans and one non-veteran out of more than $525,000.

He faces up to 30 years in prison at sentencing on Jan. 10.