A Chelsea man pleaded guilty Thursday to improperly claiming travel reimbursement benefits from the Veterans Administration.

Victor Lawrence, 63, entered the guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

According to authorities, Lawrence submitted 77 claims in which he said he was living about 100 miles from the Togus VA Medical Center, when, in fact, he lived only about 6 miles away. Veterans can be reimbursed for travel costs when getting treatment at VA facilities.

Jim Moore, an assistant U.S. Attorney, said the VA has been clamping down on abuse in the travel reimbursement program. He said authorities have already prosecuted about a half-dozen similar cases in Maine, although most involve veterans falsely claiming that they were traveling much greater distances to Togus than what Lawrence claimed.

Lawrence faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced at a later date.