Feds: CT woman stole $800,000 from vets organization

A Connecticut woman has been indicted by a federal grand jury for alleged embezzling about $800,000 from a Connecticut-based veterans services organization.

Cynthia Tanner, 53, of Darien, was charged with fraud and tax evasion offenses on April 9 in New Haven federal court.

As alleged in the indictment, Tanner was employed as a bookkeeper for the National Veterans Service Fund (NVSF) located in Darien.

The stated mission of the NVSF was to provide “case managed social services and limited medical assistance to Vietnam and Persian Gulf War veterans and their families, with a focus on families with disabled children.”

Feds: Used funds for personal expenses

According to the indictment, from about January 2009 through June 2014, Tanner used approximately $800,000 in NVSF funds to pay various personal expenses for her and her family members. She also altered records to conceal her scheme and by falsely claiming that the stolen monies were being paid to veterans in need, the indictment claims.

The indictment further alleges that Tanner failed to report $794,768 in embezzled income on her 2009 through 2013 federal tax returns, resulting in a tax loss to the government of $270,026.

Faces up to 125 years in prison

Tanner was charged with five counts of wire fraud, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years on each count, and five counts of tax evasion, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years on each count.

She has been detained on related state charges since her arrest on June 2, 2014.

Secret Service involved in case

The case is assigned to Senior U.S. District Judge Warren W. Eginton in Bridgeport.

The investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Secret Service, Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division, and Darien Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Asst. U.S. Attorney Douglas P. Morabito of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Connecticut.

Deirdre M. Daly, U.S. attorney for Connecticut, stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.