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According to The Columbus Dispatch, a former Columbus police officer has been charged in federal court with embezzling $89,646 from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.

Rita Green, 54, of Gahanna, is accused of stealing her mother’s Veterans Affairs benefits after her mother died in December 2009.

On Thursday, a grand jury in U.S. District Court in Columbus indicted Green on a charge of theft of public money, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Green was investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General and the FBI.

The indictment says her mother received monthly benefits for surviving spouses of veterans. Green had access to the bank account where the benefits were deposited, and she withdrew the money from December 2009 through Feb. 4.

Green’s mother, Hildegard McCurdy, died of pneumonia on Dec. 19, 2009.

Green resigned from the Columbus Division of Police in February, after 33 years with the force. City records show she was hired as an officer in 1982. She worked in the patrol bureau, as a red-light traffic-camera review officer, and with the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program in city schools.

She was a DARE officer when, in 1991, her 2-year-old son fatally shot himself with her .38-caliber revolver at their home on the Northeast Side. The boy had found the loaded pistol under a bed and fired a single shot into his face, according to Dispatch stories at the time.

The shooting was investigated by police and determined to be an accidental death.

In 2002, Green was stripped of her badge and gun after she was accused of standing by while her son, Charles McCurdy, beat up a woman.

In that case, Green and McCurdy were riding in a car with a 22-year-old woman and McCurdy began beating the younger woman then and again in her apartment, police said at the time.

Green was charged with three counts of misdemeanor dereliction of duty, which accused her of not intervening to stop the assault. The charges were dismissed in August 2003, and she returned to work.

McCurdy faced felony charges of aggravated burglary, kidnapping and assault in connection with the incident. He eventually pleaded guilty to one count of burglary and was sentenced to two years of community control.

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