DENVER — A Colorado man has been sentenced to a year in prison for defrauding the Department of Veterans Affairs out of nearly $1.3 million by pretending to be blind.

Mike Blea, of Northglenn, was sentenced Wednesday and ordered to pay the VA $1,273,180 in restitution.

Investigators say Blea is a Vietnam veteran who started getting VA disability payments in 1969 for visual impairment.

He did have a minor problem with his eyesight but started to exaggerate how bad it was.

Blea had eye exams outside of the VA system that showed his vision could be corrected to 20/30 in one eye and 20/40 in another.

He also had a driver’s license and drove regularly.

U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn said after the sentence that “justice may be blind, but Mr. Blea isn’t.”

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