KENTUCKY ATTORNEY SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR STEALING MORE THAN HALF A MILLION DOLLARS FROM DISABLED VETERAN
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 03, 2013
Public Affairs Officer
CINCINNATI – Brian P. Gilfedder, 65, of Lexington, Kentucky was sentenced in the Eastern District of Kentucky to serve 41 months in federal prison for stealing $639,618.43 in VA and Social Security benefits from a disabled veteran over a 20-year period.
Carter M. Stewart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Quentin G. Aucoin, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General Southeast Field Office (VA-OIG), announced the sentence handed down yesterday by U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves in the Eastern District of Kentucky.
According to court documents, Gilfedder pleaded guilty to a one-count bill of information charging him with devising a scheme to defraud, embezzle, steal, and knowingly convert $639,618.43 in VA and Social Security benefits paid out to an incompetent veteran. Gilfedder, licensed to practice law at the time he was appointed fiduciary by the VA in 1990, was responsible for managing the disabled veteran’s financial affairs. Gilfedder admitted that he stole the veteran’s money between January 1991 and August 2011, putting it to his own use and taking it with the intent to deprive the owner of the use or benefit of the money. He was charged with submitting altered VA documents along with fraudulent accountings to VA in order to conceal the theft.
Gilfedder agreed to forfeit his license to practice law in the State of Kentucky as part of his plea agreement. He was also sentenced to serve 3 years of supervised release upon his release from prison and was ordered pay restitution to the VA and Social Security Administration totaling $639,618.43.
The VA fiduciary program was established to protect Veterans and other beneficiaries who, due to injury, disease, or age, are unable to manage their financial affairs. Upon determining a veteran is unable to manage his or her financial affairs, VA will appoint a fiduciary. The fiduciary, normally chosen by the veteran, must undergo an investigation of their suitability to serve. Only after a complete investigation is a fiduciary appointed to manage a veteran’s VA benefits. The fiduciary is responsible to the veteran and oversees the financial management of VA benefit payments. Generally, family members or friends serve as fiduciaries for beneficiaries; however, when friends and family are not able to serve, VA looks for other qualified individuals such as attorneys to serve as a veteran’s fiduciary.
Special Agent in Charge Quentin G. Aucoin stated, “The VA Office of Inspector General is dedicated to aggressively investigating individuals who misuse their fiduciary authority to embezzle VA funds from the incompetent veterans placed under their care.”
“Protecting our nation’s veterans must remain a high priority endeavor,” Stewart said. “Especially disturbing is the act of inflicting intentional harm of any kind upon a disabled or otherwise vulnerable veteran.”
Stewart commended the investigative efforts of the VA-OIG Nashville Resident Agency, along with the assistance of the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General and the Louisville, Kentucky VA Fiduciary Hub, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker, who prosecuted the case.
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