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      Aynor resident sentenced for defrauding VA, illegally buying guns

      File image of Steven Bunker

      A 47-year-old Aynor man was sentenced after evidence showed that he was defrauding the Department of Veterans Affairs and had used straw purchasers to illegally buy guns.

      According to a news release from the United States Attorney's Office, Steven Mickey Bunker was found guilty of theft of government funds and conspiracy to make false statements when purchasing a firearm.

      Bunker will have to serve 24 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release. He will also have to pay $108,489.36 in restitution.

      Bunker was receiving total disability from the VA as a result of his claims that he was paralyzed and unable to walk, drive, eat, or otherwise take care of himself without assistance. He recieved over $159,000 in benefits from the VA.

      His benefits included over $40,000 which he was to use to buy a car that could be driven by someone without the use of their legs. The release said Bunker promptly traded that for a Hummer.

      The VA's investigation revealed that Bunker was able to walk, drive, and otherwise take care of himself, the release said.

      Bunker had purchased twenty-three firearms using straw purchasers. The straw purchasers falsely stated on the ATF forms that they were purchasing the firearms for themselves when in fact Bunker picked out and paid for the firearms.

      Bunker was not permitted to purchase firearms because of a prior felony conviction for lewd act or attempted lewd act upon a minor less than 16 years of age.