On Tuesday, it was announced that a former Department of Veterans Affairs official had pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud and bribery for concocting a scheme to steal at least $66,000 in benefit money from the VA. The money was intended for veterans in need. 39-year-old Russel M. Ware of Upper Marlboro, Maryland pleaded guilty to one count of bribery and one count of wire fraud. Judge Amit P. Mehta has scheduled sentencing for May 8, 2018.
Plea documents in the case show that between September 2013 and May 2014, the defendant devised a play to steal more than $21,000 in VA disability benefit money by wiring payments in the name of real VA beneficiaries to his own bank account. From October 2014 to February 2015, Ware directed disability benefits totaling roughly $46,000 to a friend, Jacqueline Crawford of Gulfport, Mississippi.
Ware and Crawford were not entitled to the money. Ware also admitted that he instructed Crawford to kick back more than $13,000 to him. The transfers were usually made using Walmart 2 Walmart money transfers. Crawford pleaded guilty to the charges in February 2017. Crawford is currently awaiting sentencing. Again, Russel M. Ware will be sentenced on May 8, 2018.
Additional details about the charges can be found here.