Veteranclaims’s Blog

March 4, 2010

Minnesota VA Fiduciary Guilty of Stealing from at Risk Veterans

Full Article at: An Apple Valley woman has been sentenced to federal prison time for stealing money from veterans

Connie Hanson was trusted to protect the financial interests of vulnerable military veterans who could not look out for themselves.

One veteran couldn’t pay for repairs to his home. Another didn’t have enough money for a haircut. Those stories are just a snapshot of more than 30 Minnesota veterans who were victims of the person who was supposed to be taking care of them.

Hanson was a fiduciary, an independent contractor with the Department of Veterans Affairs, and was responsible for taking care of the finances of veterans who are disabled, aging or ill.

Instead, Hanson gambled with their financial futures to feed her own gambling habit. She pleaded guilty to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the people who needed it most.

On Tuesday, Hanson was sentenced in federal court to nearly five years in prison and ordered to pay more than a million dollars in restitution.

Stephen Grisham is a fiduciary himself. His organization took over the accounts of the veterans who lost their money.

“When you’re appointed as a fiduciary for someone, there is a lot of trust and a great responsibility that needs to be taken seriously and unfortunately in that case she broke that trust,” Grisham said.

Authorities say Hanson took money from her clients over the last few years. The scam was caught when the bank that handles the accounts discovered unusual activity. The I.R.S. unraveled the complicated financial scheme.

“A lot of money involved, a lot of emotion involved. Things needed to be made right and hopefully we’ve uncovered what we needed to,” said Janet Oakes, a special agent with the Internal Revenue Service”

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