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Criminal defense: 3 charged with defrauding the VA

Three Texas residents are facing serious criminal charges for allegedly defrauding the Department of Veterans Affairs. Of the three, only one actually works at the VA, while one other is his wife who may have used her bookkeeping business as part of the scheme. The third individual is the owner of Whitetail Industries, which provided services and goods to an area VA. Their current criminal defense plans are not clear. 

The 55-year-old worked in the Engineer Department of a Texas VA, where he was employed as an operations supervisor. In Feb. 2012, he and the owner of Whitetail Industries allegedly agreed to submit fraudulent invoices and steal the resulting payments. Authorities believe that his wife created fake invoices that they submitted to the VA. 

Compensation from these phony invoices were allegedly used for personal items for the operations supervisor and his wife. Whitetail's owner received 30 percent from every invoice as a commission. In addition to submitting false claims, the VA employee is also accused of stealing two credit cards from the VA, which he also used for his own personal expenses. In total, the VA was supposedly defrauded of about $250,000. 

Both the VA employee and Whitetail's owner were charged with single counts for conspiring to defraud the government and theft of government property. The wife faces only one charge for theft of government property. If convicted, these types of charges can lead to severe penalties for Texas defendants, including lengthy prison sentences and steep fines. Getting an early start on a criminal defense plan is usually a good idea, even if the investigation is still ongoing, as this gives defendants time to make changes as new information arises. 

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John M. Petruzzi, Attorney at Law
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Houston, Texas 77056

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