Nov 10, 2008

Respecting Veterans More than a Car Sticker

Tuesday, November 11 is Veterans Day.

But the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA), charged with providing patient care and delivering veterans' benefits, has become a malfunctioning governmental agency.

Worse, the VA has become—through its policy of knocking down large financial rewards for injured veterans—a rogue agency illegally inventing a "review scheme (that) is punitive, discriminatory, confiscatory and contrary to the veterans' benefits system established by Congress," and literally shredding the service records of our veterans.

And even worse, it has jailed an honorably discharged and innocent Wisconsin Navy veteran through the tender hands of U.S. Atty Stephen Biskupic, infamous for the the proven-innocent Georgia Thompson prosecution and pursuit of Wisconsin voters.

Many look to President-elect Obama to make things right.

Roberts was convicted of five counts of wire fraud for receiving VA disability funds stemming from his diagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) related to a Navy friend, Gary Holland, being crushed to death during the Vietnam War combat era.

U.S. Atty Biskupic's office had convinced a jury that Roberts and the deceased Navy airman (Holland) did not have a friendship and that Roberts, who was on line duty at a Naval base in Naples, Italy on February 5, 1969 at the time that Holland was crushed to death by a C-54 aircraft, exaggerated his efforts to save Holland, which constituted fraud for which Roberts was convicted in November 2006 by a jury in northern Wisconsin.

Roberts has been serving a four-year sentence since March 2007.

The prosecution and conviction remain at best highly controversial and a three-member panel for the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in July found that, "The record might also have supported a jury determination that Mr. Roberts sincerely believed that his statements were true and that he had no intention to defraud the Government ... (but) (i)t is beyond our authority to disturb (a guilty) finding on appeal (in this case)."

Indeed the two men had parallel careers at several military bases that would make highly unlikely that Holland and Roberts were not at least friendly, though not friendly enough for the VA and the US DoJ that pursued the case over two years.

The hurdle for an appellate court to overturn the judgement of a jury is high, but the criminal case remains under appeal and the benefits case was recently argued at the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC), (Roberts v. Secretary of the VA (05-2425)).

Roberts awaits a decision on both cases at he continues serving a four-year sentence for serving his country.

Those wishing to write Roberts can reach him at:

Keith Roberts, 07827-089
FCI Englewood,
East-Upper FCI 9595
West Quincy Avenue
Littleton, CO 80123

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