MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Two former Veterans Affairs employees were both sentenced to three years in prison for embezzling nearly $900,000 in veterans' benefits.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for West Tennessee announced on December 29, 2011 that 75-year-old Jack Perry and 67-year-old Robert Tabbutt both received 36-month sentences for conspiring to embezzle $896,239.43 from ten veteran beneficiary accounts.
An investigation revealed that the embezzlement scheme ran from July 1999 through October 2008. Perry was appointed by the VA to manage financial benefits for veterans, and had access to beneficiary funds paid by the VA. Perry and Tabbutt, who was a VA Field Examiner who reviewed VA appointees such as Perry, diverted funds from the veterans' accounts by writing checks to themselves, direct deposit into their personal accounts and cash withdrawals. Also, both gambled large amounts of the stolen money at Tunica, Mississippi casinos in an attempt to replenish the embezzled accounts and cover their tracks.
United States Attorney Edward L. Stanton, III, stated in a news release, "This office remains committed to protecting those who have served our country with distinction. This prosecution has brought to justice these two men, who were illegally and shamefully taking benefits paid to disabled veterans for their own selfish gain. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to prosecute those who would abuse their positions of trust in order to prey on vulnerable members of our community, especially veterans."