On Tuesday, a Massachusetts former police sergeant from Whitman, pleaded guilty to multiple criminal charges after scamming disabled veterans during his time serving as a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs fiduciary.
According to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Glenn P. Pearson pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud, preparing false income tax returns, obstructing internal revenue laws and misappropriating funds from accounts of disabled veterans.
A fiduciary is an individual who receives funds on behalf of those who are disabled and receiving benefits, but who cannot manage their own funds due to the injury, ailment or mental incompetence they might be suffering from.
The 61-year old Pearson was appointed a VA fiduciary for eight disables veterans from 2007 to 2012, according to court documents.
“Glenn Pearson took advantage of disabled military veterans who could not manage their own financial affairs, by diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars in VA payments to his personal benefit,” Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart Goldberg said.
“Mr. Pearson abused his position as a fiduciary and took advantage of vulnerable members of our society,” Acting U.S. Attorney William Weinreb said. “Our veterans deserve the best care, and we will hold accountable those who seek to profit at their expense.”
Special Agent in Charge Harold H. Shaw of the FBI’s Boston Field Division said that Pearson is now on the wrong side of the law.
“Mr. Pearson now finds himself on the opposite end of the very laws he was once sworn to uphold,” Shaw said. “He took advantage of his position as a fiduciary to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from disabled veterans. The FBI will do everything we can to protect citizens against fraud, and stop those who steal from them.”
Following his time as a fiduciary, Pearson operated a tax preparation business called FTS Tax Services. While operating the business, Pearson would create false tax returns for a fee for his clients, in which he falsified deductions and added fake credits in order to get his clients a larger tax refund. Once his clients were audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Pearson would obstruct the audit by supplying more falsified documents.
According to the DOJ, Pearson admitted being the cause of over $1.5 million in lost taxes.
“[Pearson] used his tax preparation business to generate more than $1.5 million in bogus refunds and obstructed IRS audits looking into the fraudulent returns he prepared,” Goldberg added. “Today, Pearson is held fully accountable for his abuse of trust and fraudulent conduct.”
“The American tax system is designed to provide vital government services to our citizens, especially disabled veterans, who have paid the highest price for our freedom,” Acting Special Agent in Charge Kristina O’Connell of the IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) said. “Mr. Pearson took advantage of both, motivated by greed and his desired lifestyle. The IRS will use all lawful means to identify and prosecute those, like Pearson, who prepare false tax returns.”
The DOJ report said that Pearson “faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for wire fraud, five years in prison for misappropriation of funds by a fiduciary, three years in prison for preparing false tax returns, and three years in prison for attempting to interfere with the administration of internal revenue laws.”
The report added that Pearson will be responsible for paying restitution to the veterans, VA and IRS. His sentencing is scheduled for September 19.