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Federal jury convicts V A field examiner of fraud

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – On July 25, following a six-day trial in U.S. District Court, Kenneth Richard Devore, 44, of Jonesborough, Tennessee, was convicted of wire fraud, mail fraud, financial conflict of interest, theft of public money, and making false statements in matters within the jurisdiction of the United States.

Sentencing is set for 10 a.m. on November 5 before the Honorable Judge Pamela L. Reeves in U.S. District Court in Greeneville. Devore was detained pending sentencing.

Wire fraud and mail fraud both carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Theft of public money carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Financial conflict of interest and false statements both carry a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

According to evidence presented at trial, in 2015, while acting as a field examiner for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Devore schemed to defraud a disabled and incompetent veteran of over $680,000. Under the VA’s Fiduciary Program, field examiners are employed to help protect the financial assets of veterans who are unable to take care of themselves. As such, field examiners conduct on-site fact-finding examinations to ascertain the veteran’s income and assets and to observe his mental condition, living arrangement, and social adjustment. While assigned to a disabled veteran in Knoxville, Tennessee, Devore used his position to convince that veteran that he needed a Last Will and Testament (will). Devore then drafted the will and deceptively inserted his own name as the sole beneficiary of the veteran’s financial bank accounts and investments, which totaled over $680,000. Devore falsified the victim’s initials on the will and mailed it to his legal guardian, Regions Bank.

As a result of his conduct, Devore was forced to resign from the VA. Shortly thereafter, in early 2016, he applied for a position as an investigator for the National Background Investigations Bureau, an agency within the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that conducts investigations for positions of public trust and security clearances. In his application for the job and security clearance, he lied about his own educational and employment history, intentionally withholding that he had been forced to resign from the VA for misconduct and falsely claiming that he had received a college degree from the so-called “Canterbury University.” By his misrepresentations and omissions, Devore was hired for the job and worked through 2017.

Additionally, in 2009 and 2010, Devore lied about his own purported disabilities in order to obtain a 100% “total and permanent” disability rating by the VA. While he claimed to be unemployed and unable to work because of service-connected ailments, he worked gainfully and almost continuously in various federal and private sector jobs from 2009 through 2017. During that period, he received monthly disability compensation from the VA to which he was not entitled.

This case was investigated by the VA, Office of Inspector General and OPM, Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Gunn and T.J. Harker represented the United States at trial.