Jailed Wisconsin Vet’s Legal Brief Blasts VA, DoJ

Madison, Wisconsin—As the ) and remain under and , a Vietnam-era veteran filed a brief Monday slamming the two governmental agencies in his bizarre benefits-turned-criminal case.

Keith Roberts’ supplemental brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) ()), in tone echoing that of the brought Tuesday, describes the “extraordinary rendition of a veteran from a VA administrative dispute directly into Federal District Court on criminal charges ….”

Since March of this year, Roberts has been serving a 48-month sentence (and his family financially shattered) for alleged wire fraud purportedly committed in his benefits application process with the VA, in an criminal-charges case now before the (appellate brief filed June 29) which Roberts vows to take to the US Supreme Court, if necessary.

Roberts had accused the VA of “fraud” as the VA was in the process of determining the date from which his retroactive disability pay was to become effective, and was apparently subjected to a retaliatory action leading to criminal charges filed by US Atty Stephen Biskupic’s office (Eastern Dist. of Wisconsin).

“In November of 2003 the Appellant contacted the VA Office of the Inspector General (VAOIG). He was convinced that the transcript of a local hearing at the VA (Regional Office) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin had been altered. In December, 2003, the VA IG commenced an investigation not of the VARO staff, but of the Appellant,” reads the brief filed by attorney Robert Walsh.

Roberts is fighting his legal battles simultaneously against the in two different courts on the factual dispute.

“The (VA) Secretary has caused a criminal prosecution in Federal District Court to be initiated against the Appellant while he was still before this Court (CAVC) litigating the same facts, transactions and occurrences,” reads the brief.

“We have now arrived at the intersection between the jurisdiction of this Court and that of a Federal District Court presiding in a criminal matter over a disputed involving veterans benefits that congress sought to avoid.

“The (VA) Secretary appears to have willfully and intentionally circumvented the exclusive subject matter jurisdiction of this Court by failing to follow his own regarding allegations of fraud in benefits claims (38 C.F.R. § 3.905, 14.561),” reads the brief.

“When the Court rules to restore the benefits of the Appellant, we shall have arrived at an absurd 'Alice in Wonderland' result. A veteran will sit in prison for accepting the wire transfer of funds to which he was legally entitled. He will not be entitled to receive the restored benefits because he is now an incarcerated felon!,” concludes the brief.

Roberts’ hope is that the Seventh Circuit appellate court will vacate his conviction for lack of evidence (similar to the ), entitling Roberts to the VA disability benefits previously awarded to him.



July 26, 2007 - 6:26am