Former VA Field Examiner and OPM Investigator Kenneth Richard Devore Sentenced to Serve 96 Months in Prison for Fraud
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – On November 5, 2018, Kenneth Richard Devore, a/k/a Kenneth Waters, 44, of Jonesborough, Tennessee, was sentenced by the Honorable Pamela L. Reeves to serve 96 months in federal prison. In July 2018, following a six-day trial, Devore was convicted by a federal jury 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.
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 an elderly and disabled 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 (NBIB), 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.
“Protecting our seniors is a top priority of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee. While we take any fraud case against an elderly victim very seriously, this case was particularly disturbing as it involved an individual in a position of trust, employed by the VA, defrauding a disabled veteran. Our office will continue to vigorously prosecute these types of cases, when they are investigated and presented to our office by one of our local, state or federal law enforcement partners,” said U.S. Attorney J. Douglas Overbey.
“VA officials are entrusted to make sure our veterans are taken care of,” said Kim R. Lampkins, Special Agent in Charge of the VA-OIG Mid-Atlantic Field Office. “Mr. Devore took advantage of one of our vulnerable heroes, and today justice was served.”
“It is essential that federal employees execute their duties with complete integrity,” observed Thomas W. South, OPM Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Investigations. “This outcome is a testament to the excellent work performed every day by the Department of Justice, OPM OIG criminal investigators, and our law enforcement partners, as well as our collective commitment to holding accountable anyone who would seek to take advantage of federal employment.”
This case was investigated by the VA, Office of Inspector General, NBIB Integrity Assurance, and OPM, Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorneys David L. Gunn and T.J. Harker coordinated the investigation and represented the United States at trial.
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