Saturday, August 31, 2019

Attorney Pleads Guilty to Stealing $1.4 Million from Charity Founded to Help Veteran and Military Families

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Brian C. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that KEVIN E. CREED, 67, of Litchfield waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty today in New Haven federal court to wire fraud related to a scheme in which he stole approximately $1.4 million from a charity he organized.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Creed is an attorney who operates Creed Law Firm in Bristol.  In 2010, Creed established a charity called the Friends of Fisher House Connecticut, which is a chapter of the national Fisher House Foundation, an organization that builds comfort homes on the grounds of military and Veteran Affairs medical centers where military veterans and their families can stay for no cost while undergoing treatment at Veteran Affairs hospitals.  The stated purported purpose of Friends of Fisher House Connecticut was to raise funds to support the building and maintenance of a Fisher House in West Haven.

Creed solicited donations for the Friends of Fisher House from corporations and individuals.  He solicited funds at fairs, carnivals and supermarkets, and also held fundraising events, including the Bristol half-marathon and a 10-kilometer foot race, based on the representation that the money raised would support the construction and operation of the West Haven Fisher House.  While Friends of Fisher House Connecticut made a $1 million donation in 2015 to assist with the financing of the construction of the Fisher House West Haven, Creed used his position to take approximately $1.4 million that had been raised for the organization and use it for both personal and law firm expenses.

Creed is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall on November 20, 2019, at which time he faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.

Creed is released on a $100,000 bond pending sentencing.

This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. McGarry.

U.S. Attorney Durham thanked the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney for its assistance in this matter.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Husband and Wife Charged for Theft of Military Property

RALEIGH – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announces that a Federal grand jury in Greenville has returned a three count indictment charging MORRIS COOPER, age 62 of Fayetteville, with bribery and theft of government property.

According to the indictment, COOPER was a purchasing agent assigned to the Operations and Maintenance Division, Directorate of Public Works (DPW), at Fort Bragg, NC and entrusted to purchase HVAC parts for DPW’s HVAC maintenance section.  He was named in an indictment filed on August 20, 2019, charging him with stealing government money and conspiracy to do so, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371 and 641, and, as a public official, receiving bribes in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 201(b)(2).  His wife, BEVERLEY COOPER, age 52 of Fayetteville, is also charged with conspiring to steal government property and aiding and abetting COOPER to do so.  The indictment charges that COOPER used his position as purchasing agent at DPW, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, to receive cash and gifts from vendors for both he and his wife, BEVERLEY COOPER, in return for steering contracts for supplies to those vendors.   Additionally, he at times inflated the prices for items under those contracts beyond market price, increasing both the profits to the vendor and the cash payment made to COOPER and/or his wife.  The indictment alleges gross proceeds to COOPER of at least $978,279.00.

“Those who hold government positions with access to the public fisc must act with even greater conviction and accountability than if the monies were their own funds,” said United States Attorney Higdon.    “For the public fisc is exactly that–the monies of each member of the public.”

If convicted, COOPER would face up to a maximum term of 30 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine as to each of the three counts, and a term of up to three years supervised release following any term of imprisonment.  BEVERLEY COOPER would face up to 15 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine as to each of the two counts, and a term of up to three years supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Investigation of this case is being conducted by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Division, with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Combat Veteran Mike's Recovery

Hi, I’m Mike—a Marine combat veteran who proudly served my country in Iraq. I’ve faced a lot of challenges over the years, but the biggest is the one that doesn't leave a trail or any scars. It carries the household name of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). I have tried to tough it out through the years but ultimately, I am losing the fight. This is why I have chosen to seek help in the form of inpatient rehab.

I have been fighting for years to just be able to be here.  After Iraq I was honorably discharged from the Marines. A few years later I was diagnosed with lung issues from Iraq, and just over a year ago had back to back spinal surgeries to replace two disks in my spine.  For me, life is constant pain. I don't tell you this to gain your sympathy, but to help you understand the financial situation I am in.

For the past few years I have been struggling not just to walk, breathe, and stay mentally sane, but also to financially survive. Over the years, I have turned to alcohol more than I have turned to look at myself in the mirror. I have been prescribed every drug the VA has in their arsenal, but nothing seems to make the pain go away. If you or anyone you know has ever taken medication for a mental "disorder", you know that when you try to get off a lot of times life turns into a water slide. (Good luck standing on your own two feet on a water slide.)

I just cannot keep the cycle of torture going any longer; as a result, I recently decided to check myself into an inpatient rehabilitation center. I never had a clear picture of what I wanted to become with all this medication, and have decided that it is impossible to change from something unless there is something to change into.

This choice that I’m making is not an easy one or an inexpensive one, but this is where I am. (I do not have insurance.) This will cost me money, but I will not let it cost me everything!

The rehab center I am going to comes with a price tag of about $20,000 a month and the length of stay depends on how I am doing in the process. Anywhere from 30-90 days. Any funds above that will go to help anyone else who finds themselves in pain. I hereby pledge to use whatever funds I will need for my recovery above what I have the ability to pay myself.

I am entering into a healing portion of life's journey and it is my intention to heal, but I can’t do it alone—I need the help of my tribe. With your help, I can find the light again, and move towards healing—not only for me, but for all those I long to help as well.

I thank you my tribe for your love and support through this process.