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Former federal worker sentenced in numerous frauds

Matthew Lane • Nov 7, 2018 at 8:00 AM

GREENEVILLE — A 44-year-old Jonesborough man who attempted to steal $680,000 from an elderly, disabled veteran has been sentenced to 96 months in federal prison.

Kenneth Richard Devore (aka Kenneth Richard Waters) received the sentence on Monday in U.S. District Court in Greeneville. The sentence comes following a six-day trial in July when a federal jury found Devore guilty on all charges filed against him, including wire fraud, theft of public money, mail fraud, financial conflict of interest and making false statements.

According to evidence presented at trial, in 2015, while acting as a field examiner for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Devore schemed to defraud an elderly and disabled veteran of more than $680,000. While assigned to the man in Knoxville, prosecutors say, Devore used his position to convince the veteran he needed a last will and testament.

Prosecutors then say Devore drafted the will and inserted his own name as the sole beneficiary of the man’s bank accounts and investments, which totaled more than $680,000. Devore falsified the victim’s initials on the will and mailed it to his legal guardian, Regions Bank, court records state.

Due to his actions, Devore was forced to resign from the VA.

FALSE STATEMENTS

Shortly thereafter, in early 2016, Devore applied for a position as an investigator for the National Background Investigations Bureau — an agency within the U.S. Office of Personnel Management that conducts investigations for positions of public trust and security clearances.

Prosecutors say Devore lied in his application about his educational and employment history, intentionally withholding the fact he resigned from the VA. Devore also falsely claimed he graduated from the so-called “Canterbury University.”

Devore was hired for the job and worked there through 2017.

OTHER CRIMES

In addition, Devore, who is a five-year veteran of the military, lied about his own purported disabilities in 2009 and 2010 to obtain a 100 percent “total and permanent” disability rating by the VA. Devore claimed compensation for lower back, elbow, right knee injuries and later for service-connected depression.

Prosecutors say Devore claimed to be unemployed and unable to work, yet he worked almost continuously in various federal and private sector jobs for nearly a decade while receiving monthly disability payments from the VA. In total, Devore received more than $167,000 in disability payments.

Court records state that when Devore was declared 100 percent disabled in 2009, he was working at the VA, even earning “outstanding performance” ratings from his superiors. In 2010, prosecutors say, Devore established an AllState agency in Jonesborough and grew the business substantially through June 2011.

One way Devore kept the deception going was by changing his name from Kenneth Waters to Kenneth Devore in June 2011 before going back to work for the VA.

Finally, in May of this year — just a couple of months before going to trial — Devore went back to work with the U.S. Postal Service in Johnson City and on his application reported he was not “under charges for any offense against the law.”

Devore had been under federal indictment since February of 2017.

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