VA employee sought to steal $680K in veteran's assets, then made up fake university to get OPM job.
The Justice Department has successfully won a guilty conviction against a former federal employee who illegally schemed against the government during stints at two different agencies.
Kenneth Richard Devore was convicted in a U.S. District Court in Tennessee of wire fraud, mail fraud, financial conflict of interest, theft of public money, and making false statements in connection to jobs he held at the Veterans Affairs Department and Office of Personnel Management.
Devore’s first offense came while at VA in 2015, where he worked as a field examiner to help veterans unable to care for themselves protect their financial assets. While assisting a “disabled and incompetent veteran” in Knoxville, Tennessee, Devore “used his position to convince that veteran that he needed a Last Will and Testament,” according to the Justice Department. He made himself the sole beneficiary of that will, leaving all of the veteran’s $680,000 in assets to himself. Devore forged the veteran’s initials onto the document and sent it to the individual's bank.
The indictment against Devore found that he used his federal position to gain the veteran’s trust and learn about that individual’s assets. Those included the veteran’s guardianship checking, personal checking, savings, money market, government securities and other accounts.
VA became wise to Devore’s activity and forced him to resign. He quickly applied for a job at OPM’s National Background Investigations Bureau, which assesses individuals applying for security clearances with the federal government. Devore withheld that he was forced to resign from VA and said he had received a degree from “Canterbury University,” an institution he made up. OPM failed to recognize the deceptions and hired Devore. He continued to work at the agency into 2017.
All the while, Devore claimed to be a disabled veteran unable to work due to his injuries and received compensatory benefits from VA.
OPM and VA's inspectors general investigated the case, leading to the Justice Department’s prosecution. The government dropped two charges of “frauds and swindles” and one count of “act affecting personal financial interest.”
Devore—who was represented by a public defender—was released on $20,000 bond last year, but will face sentencing in November. The cumulative maximum penalties of his various crimes could amount to 55 years in prison and fines of $1 million.