Veterans’ Benefit Fiduciary and Former U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Employee Plead Guilty to Embezzling Nearly $900,000
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 10, 2011|
MEMPHIS, TN—Jack Perry, age 75, and Robert Tabbutt, age 67, both of Memphis, Tennessee, pled guilty yesterday before U.S. District Court Judge S. Thomas Anderson to conspiring to embezzle $896,239.43 from 10 separate veteran beneficiary accounts, which they oversaw as the fiduciary and former U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Field Examiner, respectively, appointed by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), announced Edward L. Stanton, III, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.
According to the statement of facts made by Assistant United States Attorney Justin L. Bailey to U.S. District Judge Anderson, between July of 1999 and October of 2008 Perry and Tabbutt devised a scheme in which they diverted money from the beneficiary accounts of disabled veterans. Perry was appointed by VA to act as fiduciary on behalf of disabled veteran beneficiaries, and his responsibilities as fiduciary included managing the beneficiaries’ financial affairs. Tabbutt formerly served as a VA Field Examiner tasked with reviewing the performance of numerous VA appointed fiduciaries in Tennessee. As part of his appointed fiduciary duties, Perry had access to the beneficiaries’ financial accounts, and misused that access to divert money from the beneficiary accounts to which the veterans’ benefits were paid by the VA for Perry’s and Tabbutt’s own personal use. The diversion of funds was accomplished by either writing checks drawn on the accounts to themselves, directly depositing money from the accounts into their own personal accounts, or withdrawing cash from the accounts. In some instances, Perry and Tabbutt used the account information to make personal cable and utility payments. Perry and Tabbutt also gambled large sums of the embezzled money at Tunica, Mississippi casinos in attempts to recover previously embezzled money and conceal the scheme. Perry also falsified his accounting records to conceal the scheme. Both individuals are set for sentencing November 17, 2011 before Judge Anderson.
United States Attorney Edward L. Stanton, III, stated: “This office remains committed to protecting those who have served our country with distinction. This prosecution has brought to justice these two men, who were illegally and shamefully taking benefits paid to disabled veterans for their own selfish gain. We will continue to work with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and other law enforcement partners to prosecute those who would abuse their positions of trust in order to prey on vulnerable members of our community, especially veterans.”
This case was investigated jointly by VA Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Special Agent in Charge Quentin G. Aucoin, Southeast Field Office, VA Office of Inspector General expressed profound disappointment regarding the betrayal of trust by Perry and Tabbutt: “These individuals victimized vulnerable veterans who were incapable of handling their own financial affairs. VA Office of Inspector General vigorously investigates allegations of criminal activity affecting VA programs designed to care for those who have faithfully served their country.”
This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Justin L. Bailey.