Redmond Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Federal Benefits
PORTLAND, Ore. – A former employee of the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office and the Oregon Department of Justice appeared in federal court this week and admitted to stealing more than $55,000 from the Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Bruce A. Endicott, 34, pled guilty to theft of government funds before U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Jones on Tuesday, and admitted he committed the theft over a course of more than three years.
According to court records, Endicott began receiving service-connected disability benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in 2005. In June 2012, Endicott filed an additional claim with the VA for Individual Unemployability benefits, claiming he was unemployed and unable to be employed due to his service-connected disabilities that included physical and mental impairments. Endicott also submitted a statement to the VA in February 2013, that stated he had not worked within the past 12 months. In fact, Endicott was currently working at the Oregon Department of Justice under a second Social Security number that he had not disclosed to the VA. Based on Endicott’s false statements and concealments, the VA awarded him additional benefits and advised him to notify the VA immediately if he became employed.
Endicott left the Oregon Department of Justice in December of 2013 and began working for the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office, and again failed to notify the VA he was working.
After Endicott left the District Attorney’s Office in May 2014, he applied for welfare benefits through the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS), using the second Social Security number, and claimed to have no income. Endicott failed to disclose to DHS that he was receiving approximately $2,700 per month in VA benefits. Based on Endicott’s false statements and concealments, DHS awarded him Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (formerly known as food stamps) and Temporary Assistance to Needy Family (TANF) benefits.
In February 2015, Endicott submitted a statement to the VA regarding his Individual Unemployability (IU) claim, in which he failed to disclose his former employment with the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office, and asserted that he had not worked in the past 12 months. As a result of his false statements and concealments, the VA continued to pay his IU benefits.
Between June 2012 and October 2015, Endicott received approximately $47,947 in IU benefits, $5,996 in SNAP benefits, and $2,770 in TANF benefits to which he was not entitled.
According to the plea agreement, the government will be seeking a 30-day term of imprisonment. The actual sentence will be determined by Judge Jones at Endicott’s sentencing hearing which is scheduled for October 5, 2016.
The case was investigated by the Criminal Investigations Division of the Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, the Oregon Department of Human Services, and the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations. The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Helen Cooper as part of a partnership venture between the Seattle Region, SSA Office of the General Counsel and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland, Oregon.