Just one of the many issues that arise from underfunding a Government Agency, and having a political appointed leader of doing the political ideology bidding, including ex-military leaders as the VA secretary which far too many have been. Especially when and while sending our Military into War Theaters the Country waves it flags while cheering for, for decades and previous wars. And especially this past decade plus and two war and long occupation theaters with No Sacrifice by those Served, their responsibility!
December 19, 2012 - The elderly Houston couple responsible for the largest scam ever uncovered in a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' program meant to protect vulnerable veterans will be going to federal prison for 46 months after conspiring to carry out a $2.3 million ripoff of 49 disabled military men.
Houston lawyer Joe B. Phillips, 73, stood in federal court Wednesday to receive an identical punishment to that of his legal assistant and wife of four decades, Dorothy, who has claimed a casino gambling addiction first compelled her to siphon funds from veterans' bank accounts years before a VA audit finally detected the losses.
"I did not personally do it myself, but I accept responsibility because it happened in my office. It happened on my watch," Phillips told the court.
He asked to serve out his sentence in a cell near his 72-year-old spouse.
Government prosecutors unsuccessfully urged U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal to give a longer sentence to Joe Phillips, who was legally responsible for safeguarding disabled veterans' funds as a VA-approved fiduciary and as a guardian appointed by Texas probate judges. They pointed out that on Phillips' watch, 46 different fraudulent bank accounts were concocted to conceal long-term and ongoing thefts from veterans' accounts.
On Wednesday, Phillips unexpectedly turned over veterans' bank statements for an estimated $45,000 in apparently previously unreported assets to government investigators. Phillips' attorney, Robert Jones, said Phillips continued to receive those statements nearly five years after being removed as a VA fiduciary.
The VA first uncovered irregularities in 2007 after auditing Phillips' accounts for first time in 25 years.
The findings of that audit were "shocking to me," Phillips said Wednesday, though prosecutors claimed in court records that about $1 million in funds were transferred to an account Phillips shared with his wife.
Many went undetected read more>>>