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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 1, 2021

New Kensington Man Sentenced for Misappropriating VA Benefits

PITTSBURGH, PA - A resident of New Kensington, Pennsylvania, was sentenced in federal court following his guilty plea to a charge of misappropriation of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) beneficiary funds, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

United States District J. Nicholas Ranjan sentenced Andrew Ziacik, 57, to one day of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release. Ziacik was also ordered to pay a $4,000 fine.

During the defendant’s plea hearing on June 2, 2021, the defendant admitted that between 2013 and 2017, he was the appointed Federal Fiduciary for a VA beneficiary—his older brother, who was a service-disabled veteran. In his role as a Fiduciary, the defendant was responsible for receiving his brother’s VA income and ensuring that all of his debts were paid. Between July 2013 and late 2017, the defendant admitted that he violated the terms of his Fiduciary Agreement by, among other things, misappropriating his brother’s VA funds for the defendant’s personal benefit, including by using VA funds to finance a Harley Davidson motorcycle, purchase a diamond ring, and buy a GMC Sierra truck The defendant also failed to maintain accurate records and receipts related to the disposition of his brother’s VA benefits, and he likewise failed to provide complete and accurate records in response to a formal accounting initiated by the Department of Veterans Affairs in August 2016.

As part of the defendant’s sentence, Judge Ranjan ordered that the defendant make restitution to his brother in the amount of $75,000.

Assistant United States Attorney Eric G. Olshan prosecuted this case on behalf of the government. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation of the defendant.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Updated November 1, 2021