(WSVN) - A federal agent is accused of stealing money from the department where he used to work, and investigators say that money was supposed to be helping injured veterans. 7’s Brian Entin investigates.
Brian Entin: “Mr. Barros, is there anything you want to say to the veterans who say they needed that money?”
Adolfo Barros: “No, I don’t. Talk to my attorney.”
Adolfo Barros didn’t say much as he walked out of court. He’s accused of stealing nearly $100,000 from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Brian Entin: “The Feds say that you claimed you were injured, but that you weren’t, and that you scammed the system.”
Adolfo Barros: “No comment.”
Barros was in the Marines and is a former VA police officer … until two weeks ago, when U.S. Marshals arrested him, he was a Health and Human Services special agent.
His job was investigating fraud, but prosecutors say he was the one stealing.
According to Barros’ indictment, he submitted “false and fraudulent documents to the VA,” claiming he had “a serious injury in the line of duty.”
Barros signed his brother Daniel up to be his paid caregiver. For two years, they collected a monthly check through the VA’s Caregiver Support Program.
Moises Castro, veteran: “I’d first tell him, shame on him.”
Veterans like Moises Castro rely on the Caregiver Support Program. Castro was in the Navy for two decades — and that’s where he met his wife Theresa. The program helps pay for his service dog, and pays Theresa to stay home with him as he recovers from a brain tumor.
Moises Castro: “My wife handles all my meds. She goes to all my VA appointments with me. I usually don’t leave Coral Springs without her or my service dog.”
The Castros say there are veterans who need caregiver support benefits but are denied, and they’re shocked someone who was in law enforcement is now accused of stealing from the program.
Theresa Castro: “It’s very disheartening, because so many people aren’t getting what they deserve because money is being allocated somewhere else.”
The Barros brothers are charged with conspiracy, theft and making false statements. Both brothers could face up to 20 years in prison.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General released a statement to 7News that reads:
“We hold our employees to the highest standard and expect them to demonstrate the utmost integrity as civil servants to the nation. The alleged actions of the accused are isolated incidents. These recent events should not distract from the hard work and dedication of the nearly 1,600 employees who protect the health and safety of beneficiaries across the country.”
– Tesia Williams, Director of Communications
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