Two Plead Guilty to Embezzling from Disabled Vets

Post date: Aug 21, 2011 10:18:58 PM

August 11, 2011

The Commercial Appeal|by Lawrence Buser

Two former government employees have pleaded guilty in federal court in Memphis to conspiring to embezzle nearly $900,000 from veterans beneficiary accounts under their supervision.

Jack Perry, 75, and Robert Tabbutt, 67, admitted diverting funds from 10 different accounts and using the money to pay personal expenses and to gamble at Tunica casinos.

Perry had fiduciary duties over the accounts and Tabbutt is a former field examiner for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

If a veteran cannot handle his or her affairs, the VA usually will appoint a family member or, if necessary, ask the court to appoint one.

Federal prosecutor Justin Bailey said that between July 1999 and October 2008, the two men schemed to steal money from the beneficiary accounts of disabled veterans by writing checks to themselves from the accounts or withdrawing cash from the accounts.

They pleaded guilty to embezzling $896,239.43 on Tuesday before U.S. Dist. Court Judge S. Thomas Anderson. They will be sentenced Nov. 17.

"This prosecution has brought to justice these two men, who were illegally and shamefully taking benefits paid to disabled veterans for their own selfish gain," U.S. Atty. Ed Stanton of Memphis said in a news release.

"We will continue to work with the Department of Veterans' Affairs and other law enforcement partners to prosecute those who would abuse their positions of trust in order to prey on vulnerable members of our community, especially veterans."