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Atlantic City mayor pleads guilty to cheating Veterans Department

  • Story Highlights
  • Robert Levy, 60, guilty of lying about military record to pocket nearly $25,000
  • Former mayor disappeared for two weeks in September, emerged in clinic
  • Levy claimed he received several military awards
  • He will likely serve six months of a possible maximum five years, lawyers say
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- The former mayor of Atlantic City pleaded guilty Thursday to defrauding the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs out of nearly $25,000 for false claims about his military service during the Vietnam War, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey.

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Former Atlantic City Mayor Bob Levy pleads guilty to defrauding the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Robert Levy, who disappeared for two weeks before resigning October 10, admitted before U.S. District Judge Jerome Simandle that he made three false claims with Veterans Affairs in January 2003 to pocket $24,683.

The 60-year-old Democrat claimed he was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Parachutists Badge and successfully completed the Airborne School with more than 100 jumps.

He claimed that he had twice been abandoned in the jungle by his troops for several weeks, which he cited as the basis for suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

According to documents filed by the U.S. Attorney, Levy will likely serve six months of a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison

Elected by a large majority in November 2005, Levy gained national attention when he disappeared in late September. Even his closest political advisers did not know where he was. It was later revealed he had checked into an inpatient rehabilitation facility to receive treatment for a dependence on prescription drugs.

Levy's attorney Edwin Jacobs said the mayor stepped down because of "multiple health problems" precipitated by the investigation by the Department of Veterans.

On Thursday, CNN could not immediately reach Jacobs for comment.

For years, Levy had claimed he served with the elite Green Berets during the Vietnam War. But last year, he admitted that he had simply been an enlisted soldier.

Jacobs said, however, the federal investigation includes no allegations that Levy did anything wrong in his role as mayor of the seaside city of 40,000, best known for its gambling casinos.

Sentencing is scheduled for February 15, 2008. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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