Police: Woman collects $22K in veterans benefits for widow 2 years after she died

by: Ken Lemon Updated:

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CHERRYVILLE, N.C. —

A Cherryville woman is accused of collecting $22,000 in veterans benefits for a widow two years after she died.

Investigators told Channel 9 reporter Ken Lemon she spent the money on everything from bills, food and even clothes.

The widow was in her 80s when she died two years ago.

The Department of Veterans Affairs conducted an audit and discovered her Social Security benefits had stopped, but the VA was still sending money to her account.

The VA said it then learned Amber Chapman had access to the account.

Chapman helped to care for the widow on the past.
     
Police said when the elderly woman's health began failing she moved in with Chapman and her husband in his home, in Cherryville.

"Her family was deceased, sons everyone else. She had nowhere to go," said Gaston County police Capt. Jay Human.

Police said Chapman, who wasn't working, took the woman's debit card to pay her bills.

She kept it when the woman died and spent $22,000 on herself, police said.

Human said she spent the money on “food, power bills, other household needs.”

The allegations frustrate veteran and American Legion post officer Tony Sherrill.

"You ought to be ashamed of yourself," Sherrill said.

He said this is horrible considering all of the veterans wounded in recent wars and waiting for help.

"That $22,000 could be used to help someone else,” Sherrill said.

Police said Chapman’s husband didn’t know what she was doing. He will not be charged.