Varnville Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing More Than $300,000 from Military Veterans

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA —Raymond Huffman, 61, of Varnville, has pleaded guilty to stealing funds from 10 military veterans.

According to information presented to the Court, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) provides and cares for United States military veterans. Among its many programs, the VA administers a fiduciary program designed to protect veterans. Huffman was appointed to be a fiduciary to receive payments on behalf of veterans who, as a result of wars, injury, disease, or infirmities of advanced age, could not manage their VA benefits. Instead, Huffman stole money from these veterans.

“Stealing funds meant for a veteran is a despicable crime,” said U.S. Attorney Corey F. Ellis. “We owe it to our veterans, who have sacrificed so much for this country, to ensure they are not victimized when they most need assistance. I am grateful for the hard work from our federal and local partners.”

“Today’s plea should send a clear message that the VA Office of Inspector General will vigorously investigate those who steal from our nation’s veterans,” said VA Office of Inspector General Special Agent in Charge Kim Lampkins. “The VA OIG will continue to ensure that veterans and other beneficiaries who rely on the critical financial services of VA-appointed fiduciaries are not exploited by greed for financial gain.”

“This case is an example of what happens when we all work together – the Sheriff’s office, members of our community and other law enforcement agencies in our area,” said Dorchester County Sheriff L.C. Knight. “No veteran should ever have to worry about having benefits being stolen from them. When something like this happens, we want to make sure the crime is investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent.” 

Evidence obtained in the investigation revealed that Huffman misused funds intended for at least 10 of his VA clients through his company, Huffman Fiduciary Services. The victims included the estate of a veteran who had passed away in 2018. Huffman admitted to misusing and stealing money from some of his VA clients. In all Huffman stole at least $304,413.75, and also received fees in excess of $10,000.

Williams faces a maximum penalty of 50 years in federal prison. He also faces a fine of up to $250,000, restitution, and 30 years of supervision to follow the term of imprisonment.  United States District Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks accepted the guilty plea and will sentence Huffman after receiving and reviewing a sentencing report prepared by the United States Probation Office.

This case was investigated by the VA Office of Inspector General, specifically Special Agent Robert Breunig, with assistance from Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, specifically, Sgt. Chaz Easterlin Easterlin, and the Office of the Solicitor for the First Judicial Circuit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Kittrell is prosecuting the case in federal court and Assistant Solicitor Shannon N. Elliott of the First Circuit Solicitor’s Office prosecuted the case in state court.

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