Just before his trial was set to start in federal court yesterday, Houstonian Joe B. Phillips, 73, faced up to the truth: He's a pretty despicable guy.
How despicable? He entered a guilty plea to ripping off mentally incompetent veterans to the tune of more than $2 million.
That's right: Phillips was chosen by the Veterans Administration with protecting the money and rights of men and women who had served their country and now were unable to fend for themselves. Instead of doing so, he pocketed the cash because hey, who's gonna find out? These mentally incompetent vets?
Luckily, the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service -- Criminal Investigation department also found out and brought a case against him and his wife Dorothy, 72.
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Among his transgressions:
Phillips admitted to submitting false accounting statements to the VA in Houston, which included fraudulent verification forms for bank information for a number of his veteran clients. He also admitted that on numerous occasions he and his wife unlawfully transferred money from bank accounts he maintained for his veteran clients on at least three occasions to accounts in his and his wife's name.
He further admitted that he did not file a proper accounting with the court or VA for the transfer of these funds. He admitted that his wife had gambled extensively at casinos in Louisiana between 2003 and 2007.
He has yet to be sentenced.