Topsham Woman Sentenced for Embezzling VA Benefits
Contact: Halsey B. Frank
Assistant United States Attorney
Tel. (207) 780-3257
Portland, Maine: United States Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II announced that Marsha A.
Jacobs, 64, of Topsham, was sentenced in U.S. District Court by U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen to 6
months of imprisonment, 6 months home confinement and 3 years of supervised release for embezzling
Department of Veterans Affairs ("VA") benefits intended for her disabled veteran brother-in-law. Jacobs
was also ordered to pay $92,817.31 in restitution.
According to court documents, the VA was paying Jacobs' brother-in-law about $2,700 per
month in benefits for service-connected disabilities. In about August of 2003, the VA appointed Jacobs
to be her brother-in-law's fiduciary. As a fiduciary, Jacobs was obliged to use her brother-in-law's VA
benefits only for him, to establish custodial bank accounts for those benefits, to make all disbursements
using checks drawn on his custodial checking accounts, to keep accurate records, to obtain prior
approval before disbursing over $500, and to annually account for her administration of those
benefits. In 2003, a VA employee explained these obligations to Jacobs and had her sign a form
acknowledging that she understood the obligations and would be accountable for any misuse of
From October 2003 until Jacobs was relieved of her duties as fiduciary in about April 2010,
$242,000 worth of VA benefits were disbursed to her brother-in-law. Jacobs used some of those
benefits for unauthorized purposes, such as to build a home addition. During this time, Jacobs did not
keep accurate records and provided incomplete and false annual accountings, often misstating custodial
bank accounts balances. In April 2010, Jacobs confessed that she improperly used a substantial portion
of the benefits.
In pronouncing sentence, Judge Torresen explained that Jacobs was a fiduciary who used her
brother-in-law's benefits as a home improvement account and noted that her betrayal of trust impacted
her brother-in-law emotionally.
The case was investigated by the VA Office of Inspector General.
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