St. Louis Area Woman Indicted on Charges of Theft by a Veteran's Affairs Fiduciary
St. Louis, MO – Tamara Jones, St. Louis, Missouri, was charged with theft of government funds and misappropriation in connection with her service as a fiduciary representative of an area disabled veteran.
According to the indictment, Jones was enrolled as a financial fiduciary through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. As such, she was eligible to handle the financial affairs of disabled veterans pursuant to an agreement with the VA. In September 2014, having been appointed fiduciary for a disabled veteran living in St. Louis County area, whose initials are A.W., Jones drained most of a $38,000 back pay award she found in his financial account.
Jones is also accused of failing to maintain records and file required reports and accountings of A.W.’s affairs. When confronted by VA auditors and investigators, Jones could not explain the situation and repeatedly failed to provide records, reports or A.W.’s funds despite repeated promises to do so.
The indictment was returned Wednesday, October 26. Jones is expected to appear in federal court later this week.
If convicted of theft of government funds, Jones faces up to 10 years in prison. If convicted of misappropriation by a fiduciary, she faces up to 5 years in prison. Both counts also carry the possibility of a fine of up to $250,000. Restitution to the victim is also mandatory. In determining the actual sentences, a Judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs-Office of the Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Tom Albus is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
As is always the case, charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.