Department of Veterans Affairs

A Former Veterans Affairs Employee Tried To Defraud a Disabled Vet of $680,000

Kenneth Richard Devore used his position to list himself as the sole beneficiary to a disabled veteran's assets. Then he got another federal job.


|||Danny Raustadt/
Danny Raustadt/

A former Veterans Affairs employee has been convicted on federal fraud charges after using his position to write himself into a disabled veteran's will.

A press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Tennessee details Kenneth Richard Devore's long list of crimes, beginning with the attempted defrauding of a disabled veteran. The veteran, identified by the government as D.N., was discharged from the military in 1986. After D.N. was officially declared incompetent, Devore, a VA field examiner, was tasked in 2013 with making sure D.N. received his VA benefits and that his assets were managed responsibly.

But that's not what Devore did. Instead, he concocted a plan that would make himself rich. Devore convinced the unsuspecting veteran that he needed a will and then helped him write the document, listing himself as the sole beneficiary of D.N.'s assets. Devore then drove D.N. to the post office to have the documents notarized. He also forged D.N.'s initials in a notice sent to Regions Bank, which the DOJ says was D.N.'s legal guardian. Devore was poised to defraud the veteran of more than $680,000.

Devore was forced to resign for misconduct in 2015 after the forged documents were uncovered. He then applied for a position with the National Background Investigations Bureau, which conducts investigations into candidates for government positions that require security clearance. (Its website promises "efficient and effective background investigations to safeguard the integrity and trustworthiness of the Federal workforce.") He failed to disclose his misconduct at his old job, and he also claimed to have attended Canterbury University, a school that was fabricated by Devore himself. Despite all this, he was hired.

But the misdeeds don't end there. While working for both the VA and the National Background Investigations Bureau, Devore was drawing a separate income from the VA after claiming in 2009 that he was 100 percent disabled, which suggests that the federal government is perhaps an even easier mark than a mentally incompetent veteran.

As Public Information Officer Sharry Dedman-Beard explained to Reason, Devore was indicted in February 2017 after the Veterans Administration Office of Inspector General began an investigation into his behavior. Dedman-Beard also confirmed that Devore was "unsuccessful in his efforts to obtain the victim's money."

On July 25, a federal jury convicted Devore of "six counts of wire fraud, one count of theft of public money over $1,000, one count of willful mail fraud, one count of conflict of interest of a federal employee, two counts of making or using a false writing and one count of making a false statement." His sentencing is scheduled for November 5.