Tags: VA | Michigan | Calhoun County

Michigan VA Official Accused of Shaking Down Vets Resigns

By    |   Friday, 09 Jan 2015 01:29 PM

A Michigan Veterans Affairs director is under investigation after allegedly attempting to shake down veterans and their families for cash, drugs, and other kickbacks after he helped them obtain their federal benefits.

Scott Losey, who had headed the Calhoun County, Michigan, office for the past 15 years, stepped down on Monday after a local Navy veteran's widow, Phyllis Katz, complained that he had harassed her over sharing her benefits, reports The Daily Caller.

According to emails obtained by NBC affiliate Wood TV in Grand Rapids through a Freedom of Information Act request, Losey had allegedly been making such demands for years.

On Wednesday, Calhoun County sheriff's detectives took a computer and documents from Losey's home, and on Thursday took another computer and his files from his VA office. They are digging through at least 40,000 emails to determine his activities.

They have also forwarded the information to the federal government for further investigation, The Daily Caller reports.

The television station posted a file of Losey's emails online this week, noting the demands that were enclosed.

In one email, from December 2009, Losey wanted to know where his Christmas present had gone.

"Just so you know, my wife and I like to go out every once in a while for dinner," he said.

On Oct. 20, 2011, another email discussed a "gentleman's agreement" to compensate for Losey's "personal time."

"I have worked cases for veterans who reside outside Calhoun County over the past couple of years with the same kind of agreement," the email said. "I will not gouge you like your Social Security lawyer. Perhaps 7 to 10 percent is typically the agreement. I have had veterans screw me over big-time as well. Does this sound cool?”

In another email, from May 2013, Losey asked one veteran for "a few of your meds to help me get through the day," and later in the email said that if the vet's benefits appeal was approved and he did not send Losey cash to help with his house payments, "you and I will be throwing down.”

Losey had earned $64,351 a year as the office director, and Katz told officials he demanded $200 from her for the work he'd done on her husband's claim, Wood TV reported.

Losey told the station that the emails were often jokes or taken out of context, and denied demanding cuts from VA benefits. He did acknowledge accepting gift cards, but denied asking for them.

Further, he claimed Katz demanded he take $200 from her, and that he'd planned to return it to her.

Calhoun County Administrator Kelli Scott said the case has been turned over to federal investigators, and told the station that the emails were "disappointing, to say the least ... they were disheartening and, honestly, disturbing. Accepting gifts on behalf of service performed in his official duty as a county employee absolutely would not be acceptable."

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A Michigan Veterans Affairs director is under investigation after allegedly attempting to shake down veterans and their families for cash, drugs, and other kickbacks after he helped them obtain their federal benefits.
VA, Michigan, Calhoun County
483
2015-29-09
Friday, 09 Jan 2015 01:29 PM
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