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Ex-DOJ, Deschutes DA employee admts stealing benefits


A former employee of the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office and the Oregon Department of Justice appeared in Portland federal court this week and admitted to stealing more than $55,000 in benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Bruce A. Endicott, 34, of Redmond, pleaded guilty Tuesday to theft of government funds before U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Jones, admitting he committed the theft over a course of more than three years.

According to court records, Endicott began receiving service-connected disability benefits through the VA in 2005, prosecutors said.

In June 2012, Endicott filed an additional claim with the VA for Individual Unemployability benefits, claiming he was unemployed and unable to be employed due to his service-connected disabilities that included physical and mental impairments.

Endicott also submitted a statement to the VA in February 2013, stating he had not worked within the past 12 months. In fact, prosecutors said, Endicott was currently working at the Oregon Department of Justice under a second Social Security number that he had not disclosed to the VA.

Based on Endicott’s false statements and concealments, the VA awarded him additional benefits and advised him to notify the VA immediately if he became employed,.

Endicott left the Oregon Department of Justice in December of 2013 and began working for the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office, and again failed to notify the VA he was working, prosecutors said.

After Endicott left the DA’s office in May 2014, he applied for welfare benefits through the Oregon Department of Human Services, using the second Social Security number, and claimed to have no income.

Endicott failed to disclose to DHS that he was receiving approximately $2,700 per month in VA benefits.

Based on Endicott’s false statements and concealments, DHS awarded him Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (formerly known as food stamps) and Temporary Assistance to Needy Family (TANF) benefits.

In February 2015, Endicott submitted a statement to the VA regarding his Individual Unemployability (IU) claim, in which he failed to disclose his former employment with the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office, and asserted that he had not worked in the past 12 months.

As a result of his false statements and concealments, prosecutors said, the VA continued to pay his IU benefits.

Between June 2012 and October 2015, Endicott received approximately $47,947 in IU benefits, $5,996 in SNAP benefits, and $2,770 in TANF benefits to which he was not entitled, federal prosecutors said.

Endicott, a former office administrator for then-DA Patrick Flaherty, also sued Flaherty in the fall of 2014 for $750,000, claiming that he’d been hired solely to advance the DA’s political prospects. He claimed Flaherty defamed him and fired him two days after the DA lost his re-election bid.

About a year ago, Endicott received a $25,000 combined settlement from the state and Deschutes County, which also agreed to provide “neutral” job references to prospective employers if inquiries were made, The Bulletin reported..

According to the plea agreement, the federal government will be seeking a 30-day term of imprisonment. The actual sentence will be determined by Judge Jones at Endicott’s sentencing hearing which is scheduled for Oct. 5.

As part of the plea agreement, Endicott also is ordered to pay nearly $48,000 in restitution to the VA and $8,766 to Oregon DHS. He also must disclose all assets he has any interest and agree not to appeal the sentence.

The case was investigated by the Criminal Investigations Division of the Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, the Oregon Department of Human Services, and the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations.

The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Helen Cooper as part of a partnership venture between the Seattle Region, SSA Office of the General Counsel and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland, Oregon. #

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