Friday, June 2, 2017

Memorial Day Misery: Disabled Veteran Seeks Missing Funds, Sues VA Appointed Fiduciary

As he faces another Memorial Day, Ronald White's life remains a “blessed’’ struggle. The 69-year-old disabled Vietnam veteran walks with a cane these days. He’s had to move from his house into a group home.

But his biggest worries remain the financial stress caused when a fiduciary assigned by the Department of Veterans Affairs — a stranger he’s met only a handful of times — allegedly misappropriated a chunk of his savings.

“I’m blessed. I’m blessed,’’ White assures a visitor when asked how he’s holding up.

Keith Dobbs
But when the subject turns to Keith L. Dobbs, a now-disbarred Memphis attorney accused in court papers of mishandling White’s money, the former Army combat soldier’s tone changes.

“He stole my money,’’ says White. “He needs to be prosecuted.’’

More than a year after the VA first detected irregularities in Dobbs’ oversight of veterans' funds, authorities still are trying to sort it out. As a VA-appointed fiduciary, Dobbs managed the financial affairs of as many as 19 Memphis-area veterans — cases he eventually was removed from.

At least two lawsuits have been filed, including one on behalf of White, trying to collect an undetermined amount funds.

An independent investigation by The Commercial Appeal last year told the stories of veterans who suffered under Dobbs' watch, men like David Meadows, a brain-damaged Army veteran whose bank accounts were frozen and who feared being kicked out on the street; Bobbie Bouie, a 54-year-old PTSD victim who showed up sobbing at Shelby County Probate Court saying he had no money; and Henry Ashurst, 87, the victim of an earlier dishonest fiduciary who used $120,000 of the elderly vet’s funds to finance gambling junkets and personal bills before the VA assigned Dobbs to manage his affairs.

Evidence in Ashurst’s case suggest he might be the victim of another elaborate scam.

In an affidavit that led to the suspension of Dobbs' law license in February 2016, BankTennessee Chief Financial Officer Andrew John LoCascio questioned two certificates of deposit totaling $40,000 that Dobbs held for Ashurst. The bank officer said the CDs, listed by Dobbs in an accounting, are not BankTennessee instruments, saying the listings "falsely represent certificates of deposit balances.''

In all, LoCascio's affidavit questions 12 CDs totaling $178,000 that Dobbs contended were held in the name of Ashurst and three other veterans.

"Based on my investigation, the Account Certificates filed with the Probate Court Annual Accountings reflecting the certificates of deposit referred to above are not authentic documents certified by BankTennessee,'' the affidavit said. CD numbers listed by Dobbs either didn't exist at BankTennessee or were numbers associated with other customers, the affidavit said.

Marion Brooks, Ashurst’s sister and caregiver, said this week she’s been told by her brother’s new fiduciary that the VA has agreed to restore money that went missing on Dobbs’ watch.

“He said they put back a hundred thousand dollars. That’s what he stole from my brother,’’ Brooks said.

Scott Rose, the Memphis attorney the VA has appointed to replace Dobbs as Ashurst’s fiduciary, confirmed the VA has replaced missing funds from the veteran’s account but said ethically he can’t comment on the amount until records are filed in Shelby County Probate Court.

Efforts to interview Dobbs, 37, were unsuccessful.

Full Article and Source:
Memorial Day Misery:  Disabled Veteran Seeks Missing Funds, Sues VA Appointed Fiduciary

See Also:
Norman Hughes, Tennessee Victim

1 comment:

Reid said...

I feel so bad for this man and the other Veterans Dobbs left broke and in a lurch. How could he get by with this crime? I don't understand.