LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) – A Jonesboro woman has been sentenced to prison for misusing more than $143,000 in disability payments meant for her injured veteran husband.
On Tuesday, October 4, United States District Judge James Moody, Jr. sentenced 49-year-old Brandi Goldman to 20 months in federal prison.
A news release said in 2013 that Goldman was married to a U.S. Army reservist who suffered a brain injury in a service-related accident, which led to Goldman becoming his guardian.
Goldman’s husband began receiving disability payments, and she would sign an agreement with Veterans Affairs outlining the terms of her management of his finances.
“In part, the agreement stated that funds would be used for the beneficiary and that Goldman was not permitted to borrow, lend or donate money belonging to the beneficiary,” said Jonathan Ross, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, said.
From April 2015 to November 2015, records showed Goldman received $258,613.54 in disability payments and $36,000 in Social Security payments. During that time frame, she withdrew $199,649.30 in cash and incurred about $900 in ATM and overdraft fees.
Goldman admitted to spending much of the money on drugs, with about $150 spent on meth two to three times a week. She also said that five other people moved into the couple’s house and would regularly give cash to these people.
The news release also said Goldman paid $68,000 in cash for other possessions such as another home, furniture, a vehicle and a trailer. She told investigators she bought vehicles for several people and gave money to her daughters as well as her husband’s parents.
“Stealing from an incapacitated veteran is a heinous crime. However, that this crime was committed by a fiduciary is particularly pathetic,” said Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Breen of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General’s South Central Field Office. “Today’s sentence should send a clear message that the VA OIG will vigorously investigate those who would exploit our nation’s most vulnerable veterans.”
A grand jury indicted Goldman in July 2020 on one count of embezzlement by a fiduciary and one count of theft of government funds. In June 2022, she pleaded guilty to the embezzlement charge in exchange for the other charge being dismissed.
In addition to her prison sentence, Judge Moody sentenced Goldman to three years of supervised release and ordered her to pay $143,000 in restitution.
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