If Sabrina Masangcay could speak for herself, she might express horror about the repeated mishandling of her money by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The agency designated a dishonest uncle to receive her VA benefit checks despite a red flag, his bankruptcy filing back in 1997. For years under the noses of VA bureaucrats in Oakland, Ruben Yumang Masangcay deceived family members and stole Sabrina's money, records show.
But Sabrina's $15,000 in restitution got lost in an "unclaimed fund" at the U.S. District Court in San Francisco. It was discovered in January and released to her family. Not the fault of the court, said court clerk Richard Wieking. Once again it was the VA's fault, records show.
Sabrina, 51, lives in a group home in Castro Valley. She can't speak for herself because of "chronic schizophrenia and mental retardation," court records show.
California has almost 11,000 mentally disabled veterans and family members who, like Sabrina, are assigned VA fiduciaries to handle their finances. But a Hearst examination of criminal court records nationwide shows California may be a dead zone for VA oversight of the money.
The Sabrina Masangcay case is perhaps the state's most egregious because she was victimized twice.
After the uncle was removed as fiduciary, Sabrina's financial affairs were shuffled from a kindly sister to a brother and then to an aunt because of deaths. The VA is by law supposed to visit the new fiduciaries and regularly examine the accountings.
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Disabled Castro Valley Woman Victimized Twice