A former federal employee with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Office of Personnel Management has been sentenced to 96 months in prison for fraud according to an announcement from the Justice Department.
Kenneth Richard Devore, A.K.A. Kenneth Waters, 44, of Jonesborough, Tennessee, was found guilty of wire fraud, mail fraud, financial conflict of interest, theft of public money, and making false statements. He had previously been convicted of fraud charges but not sentenced until this week.
According to evidence presented at trial, in 2015, while acting as a Field Examiner for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Devore schemed to defraud an elderly and disabled veteran of over $680,000.
Under the VA’s Fiduciary Program, Field Examiners are employed to help protect the financial assets of veterans who are unable to take care of themselves. While assigned to a disabled veteran in Knoxville, Tennessee, Devore used his position to convince a veteran that he needed a Last Will and Testament (will). Devore then drafted the will and deceptively inserted his own name as the sole beneficiary of the veteran’s financial bank accounts and investments, which totaled over $680,000. Devore falsified the victim’s initials on the will and mailed it to his legal guardian, Regions Bank.
As a result of his conduct, Devore was forced to resign from the VA. Shortly thereafter, in early 2016, he applied for a position as an investigator for the National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB), 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 received monthly disability compensation from the VA to which he was not entitled.
“VA officials are entrusted to make sure our veterans are taken care of,” said Kim R. Lampkins, Special Agent in Charge of the VA-OIG Mid-Atlantic Field Office. “Mr. Devore took advantage of one of our vulnerable heroes, and today justice was served.”
The case was investigated by the VA, Office of Inspector General, NBIB Integrity Assurance, and OPM, Office of Inspector General.