A 54-year-old Nashville woman pleaded guilty Monday in federal court that she stole $360,000 in federal grant funds intended to aid veterans.
Birdie Anderson said she made false statements to the Department of Veterans Affairs to obtain an $80,000 federal grant.
She then converted more than $280,000 in additional VA grant funds for her own personal use, said U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin.
Anderson admitted that during 2007 and 2008 she made false representations when applying for a federal grant that she said would provide money for a mortgage and for the purchase of property that would be using to house indigent veterans.
However, she said she pocketed around $25,000 of the $80,600 in cash that the VA gave her to buy the property.
Anderson then failed to make the mortgage payments, which resulted in foreclosure and loss of the property as a source of veteran housing.
Anderson further admitted to receiving an additional $280,000 in VA grant funds between 2008 and 2013, by representing that she would use the money to purchase a specialty van to provide transportation for veterans, and an apartment building for additional veteran housing.
However, the U.S. Attorney's office said she never purchased either.
During the investigation, Anderson claimed that she still had the money, which was in a safe in New Hampshire. Despite that claim, Anderson has refused demands from the VA to return the money and has since formally withdrawn from participation in the grant programs for which the funds were provided.
The charges carry a combined maximum of 15 years in prison, fines of up to $500,000, and forfeiture of any money or substitute property that Anderson possesses, up to the amount or value of the VA funds that she misappropriated.
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