The Justice Department recently announced that a former employee of both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Office of Personnel Management has been convicted of fraud.
According to evidence presented at trial, Kenneth Richard Devore, 44, of Jonesborough, Tennessee, was convicted of wire fraud, mail fraud, financial conflict of interest, theft of public money, and making false statements in matters within the jurisdiction of the United States.
VA field examiners conduct on-site fact-finding examinations to ascertain a veteran’s income and assets, mental condition, and living arrangement under the VA’s Fiduciary Program. While acting in this role when assigned to a disabled veteran in Knoxville, Devore schemed to defraud a disabled and incompetent veteran of over $680,000 by convincing the veteran that he needed a Last Will and Testament.
Devore then drafted the will but inserted his own name as the sole beneficiary of the assets which totaled over $680,000. He also falsified the veteran’s initials and mailed it to the legal guardian.
As a result of his conduct, Devore was forced to resign from the VA, but a short time later in early 2016, he applied for a position as an investigator for the National Background Investigations Bureau, an agency within the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that conducts investigations for positions of public trust and security clearances.
In his application for the job and security clearance, he lied about his own educational and employment history, intentionally withholding that he had been forced to resign from the VA for misconduct and falsely claiming that he had received a college degree from the so-called “Canterbury University.” By his misrepresentations and omissions, Devore was hired for the job and worked through 2017.
Additionally, in 2009 and 2010, Devore lied about his own purported disabilities in order to obtain a 100% “total and permanent” disability rating by the VA. While he claimed to be unemployed and unable to work because of service-connected ailments, he worked gainfully and almost continuously in various federal and private sector jobs from 2009 through 2017. During that period, he also received monthly disability compensation from the VA to which he was not entitled.
Wire fraud and mail fraud both carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Theft of public money carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Financial conflict of interest and false statements both carry a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Sentencing is set for November 5, 2018.
Update: Devore was sentenced to 96 months in prison on November 5, 2018.