ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A Las Cruces woman has been sentenced to four months in prison for her conviction on theft of government property and forgery charges stemming from a scheme to defraud the Department of Veteran Affairs.
Federal prosecutors said 55-year-old Donah Davison will also be required to pay more than $147,000 in restitution as part of the sentence handed down Tuesday.
Davison was charged in November in a multi-count indictment. Most of the counts stemmed from allegations that she deposited surviving-spouse benefit checks to which she wasn't entitled.
Prosecutors say Davison admitted that when her mother died in 1997, she failed to inform the VA and continued to collect and deposit the checks into her own bank account after signing her mother's signature on the back of the checks.
"I had access to my mother's post office box and I declined to inform the VA of my mother's death. Instead, I deposited the checks into my own personal bank account every month by signing my mother's signature on the back of the check," Davison admitted in a plea agreement obtained by ABC-7.
The alleged fraud went on until May 2014 when the VA discovered its mistake, the plea agreement states.
"I knew this money was not mine and I intended to put it to my own use and to deprive the VA of its use and benefit," Davison states in the plea agreement.