Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Judiciary Committee approved by voice vote the Preventing Crimes Against Veterans Act of 2017 (H.R. 506). This bipartisan legislation punishes those who knowingly scheme to defraud veterans of their federal benefits. Specifically, this bill closes a loophole that allows bad actors to escape punishment by committing the fraud in person. Currently, a violator would be punishable if they use the mail or telephone to engage in this fraud.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) has issued the following statement:

Chairman Goodlatte:  “Those who target veterans—particularly elderly or otherwise vulnerable veterans—deserve to be punished to the full extent of the law. I am pleased that this legislation, the Preventing Crimes Against Veterans Act, eliminates loopholes in our current law that will ultimately hold wrongdoers accountable for their reprehensible actions. I commend my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their strong work on behalf of veterans, and I urge the Senate to pass this bill without delay.”

Background: H.R. 506, the Preventing Crimes Against Veterans Act, amends title 18, U.S. Code, to penalize those who execute a scheme to defraud a veteran of his or her benefits. Penalties include a fine, imprisonment of up to five years, or both.

This bill is similar to legislation that was approved by the House Judiciary Committee and subsequently passed the full House of Representatives in 2016.