'Blind' Florida man kept ruse up for 20+ years, stole $500K+ from veterans

TAMPA, Fla. -- A man who claimed blindness stole more than a half-million dollars from services meant to help the country's veterans.

Doyle Mullins, a 71-year-old Bradenton man, lied repeatedly to the Department of Veterans Affairs by claiming he was "totally and permanently blind," according to a news release. He kept up the ruse for about 22 years, from 1995-2017.

In all, he pocketed $583,485.74.

Mullins served in the Vietnam War. Years later, authorities say he was able to lie and receive disability payments, grants for a car and medical payments for his wife. 

Law enforcement found during the course of their investigation Mullins was actually doing OK; he was seen driving, moving his lawn and running errands.

Mullins was sentenced to nine months of home detention and five years probation for theft of government funds. He plead guilty to the charge on Oct. 16, 2017.

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