Leonard C Boyle, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut; Christopher Algieri, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Veteran Affairs, Office of the Inspector General, Northeast Field Office; and James M. Noble, Special Agent in Charge, Coast Guard Investigative Service, Northeast Region, today announced that, on March 4, DERRICK BREWER, 37, of Enfield, pleaded guilty via videoconference before U.S. District Judge Sarala V. Nagala to an offense related to his theft of nearly $70,000 from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”).
According to court documents and statements made in court, in March 2018, Brewer submitted paperwork to the VA offices in Hartford as part of an application for service-connected disability benefits. Specifically, Brewer submitted a form known as a “DD-214,” which indicated that his discharge from his former service in the U.S. Coast Guard was characterized as “Honorable.” The DD-214 had been altered prior to its submission, as official Coast Guard records show that Brewer’s discharge was characterized as “Other Than Honorable Conditions” following Brewer’s convictions under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. There is no record of the discharge characterization ever having been upgraded. As a result of this submission, Brewer collected approximately $69,584.16 in VA benefits from March 2018 through September 2020.
Brewer was arrested on a criminal complaint on October 29, 2020.
Brewer pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government funds, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years. Judge Nagala scheduled sentencing for May 27, 2022.
Brewer is released on a $10,000 bond pending sentencing.
This matter is being investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of the Inspector General, Northeast Field Office, and the Coast Guard Investigative Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elena L. Coronado and Margaret M. Donovan.