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April 17, 2014

Edmond soldier settles in housing benefits case

EDMOND — U.S. Attorney Sanford C. Coats said Thursday a U.S. Army reserve soldier from Edmond has agreed to pay the government $20,000 to settle civil claims related to obtaining fraudulent housing benefits.

In a civil action against ex-Army Reserve soldier Monique J. Ritz and her former spouse Edward Donahue, a former reserve soldier, the government alleged that from June 2007 to January 2010, Donahue submitted travel vouchers for lodging reimbursement which included lease agreements created and signed by Ritz.

It was alleged the lease agreements falsely represented that Donahue was the only occupant of the residence and that Donahue was paying rent to Ritz when in fact they were living together in the residence as husband and wife.

As a result, Donahue and Ritz received lodging reimbursement benefits from the Army to which they were not entitled, prosecutors said.

Ritz did not admit liability but agreed to pay $20,000 to the government in order to resolve the claims against her.

In addition, Ritz executed a consent judgment of her indebtedness in favor of the government in the amount of $20,000. The agreement lets the parties avoid the delay, expense, inconvenience and uncertainty involved in litigating the case.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald R. Gallegos.

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