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Former Maryland Veterans Affairs Official Pleads Guilty to Extortion

The man falsified medical, government documents to obtain $1.4 million in benefits, the U.S. Attorney's Office reports.

The former Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs employee pleaded guilty to swindling the state out of more than $1 million.
The former Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs employee pleaded guilty to swindling the state out of more than $1 million.
A Baltimore County veteran who previously worked for the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs pleaded guilty Monday to extortion, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland

David Clark, 67, of Hydes, admitted to obtaining more than $1.4 million in veterans benefits for himself and 17 others by falsifying claims, the statement said.

Before he retired in 2011, Clark was the deputy chief of veterans claims for the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs, where one of his duties was submitting claims on behalf of veterans who had been exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War and developed diabetes, his plea agreement said.

He created false claims on behalf of 17 others and himself to receive compensation for this condition, according to the agreement.

Clark wrote letters from actual physicians, without their knowledge, stating that veterans had been diagnosed with type II diabetes and were taking insulin, which increased the amount of money they were eligible to receive when they filed their claims, the plea agreement said. He said the diagnoses were made a year before the date on the letters, so the individuals would be eligible for a one-year retroactive lump sum payment, the agreement stated.

For his services, the recipients of the money gave Clark half of the lump sum, according to the plea agreement.

Clark received the payments in unmarked envelopes at Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs offices in Bel Air and Baltimore among other locations, according to the statement.

Eight veterans have already pleaded guilty to paying Clark in cash for submitting false documents so they could receive benefits from veterans affairs, the statement said:
  • John Bratcher, 56, of Conowingo; Air Force vet       
  • Richard Genco, 71, of Baltimore; Navy vet
  • Paul Heard, 65, of Baltimore; Navy vet
  • George Kulla, 68, of Baltimore; Army vet
  • Raymond Sadler, 63, of Middle River; Marine Corps vet
  • Sandra Tyree, 65, of Baltimore; Air Force vet and former veterans affairs employee
  • Kenneth Webster, 68, of Pasadena; Marine Corps vet and former Amtrak police officer
  • Kenneth Williams, 65, of Baltimore; Marine Corps vet
In addition to the medical documents, Clark created false Department of Defense documentation for himself and five others showing they had served in the Vietnam War, so they would be eligible for the Agent Orange compensation, according to the plea agreement.

"These forms also falsely stated that these individuals had received various awards and decorations for the Vietnam service, including that Clark himself had been awarded the Purple Heart Medal," the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland reported.

The total loss to the government caused by false veterans affairs claims was $1,151,219, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Clark also submitted false certifications to the state of Maryland so homeowners could receive property tax waivers for service-related disabilities, the U.S. Attorney's Office reported.

The state's loss from property tax evasion was $255,555, according to the plea agreement, which said Clark's actions as a whole resulted in a total loss of $1,407,134.

Clark faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and he has agreed to forfeit $1,407,134, according to the plea agreement.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 17.
Wm Thomas Capps July 14, 2014 at 11:04 PM
How fricken nice and those who are real honest claims have to wait years. I wonder how big this racket is....
David Lari July 15, 2014 at 05:58 AM
Lets hear from another Dave Clark on the subject of eluding the law. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJYgNqOFBLk

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