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Is Veterans’ Benefits Theft Scheme Somehow Linked To Pre-Paid Credit Card Campaign Fundraising Scheme?

Credit Card Fundraising

Veterans nationwide are reporting their disability pay was re-routed through an e-Benefits hack directing payments to unknown bank accounts linked to pre-paid debit cards. Meanwhile, various news outlets are reporting an unusual spike in pre-paid credit cards funding political campaigns with potentially anonymous donors.

Is there a connection? Are veterans being exploited for political gain… again…?

Probably, at least to the second question. When are veterans not used as a political football during a hotly contested election by both political parties?

However, here, the link between the current veteran pre-paid debit card scheme and unemployed donors to Democratic fundraisers using pre-paid credit cards to somewhat mask the source of the money has not been proven, at least not yet.

The Department of Justice and some Attorneys General are supposedly looking into the root of the cyber burglary impacting veterans as well as VA OIG.

But even without a link, it is important we gain more understanding into why politicians have allowed our VA IT systems go without proper security protocol, and why those same politicians have yet to hold anyone inside VA accountable for continued failure to implement proper cybersecurity measures.

Let’s take a look…

Last Week’s News

VA admitted by press release last week that 46,000 veterans had their private information hacked from its e-Benefits system. The admission preceded testimony from the Government Accountability Office that VA has failed to take appropriate steps to protect veteran data despite years of knowing about vulnerabilities.

RELATED: Hackers Exploit Known VA Cybersecurity Weaknesses In Massive Data Breach

A recent example of how this played out in real life is the case of Shannon Toombs, a single mom with a 100% disability rating who relies on her monthly check to live.

Toombs reportedly fought with the Department of Veterans Affairs for over a month when she noticed her disability pay did not come through. After some research, she learned her monthly funds were rerouted to a prepaid debit card administered by American Express that she knew nothing about.

For those reading this story without an understanding of why it matters – – veterans like Toombs receives over $3,000 per month due to their military service-connected disabilities. In this instance, she relies on that money to pay for rent, gas, groceries, and other costs each month.

RELATED: Money Laundering Detection Firm Raises $35 Million

To make this simple for my more affluent readers in the Beltway, when her money was stolen, it was a big deal. She needs that money.

E-Benefits Hack

Toombs learned the e-Benefits gateway on VA’s website was unlawfully accessed. Whoever engaged in the illicit scheme then rerouted the funds by providing a different bank account and routing number Toombs did not know existed and loaded pre-paid debit cards with the funds.

Remember this concept of “pre-paid” as you read the news in the near future.

The pre-paid debit cards were apparently under the control of American Express called Blue Bird prepaid cards. Toombs contacted the company resulting in a fraud department lockdown on at least those cards implicated.

The Marine veteran later reported to ABC affiliate WATE News, “There was a breach, and I wasn’t the only veteran impacted. I was one of those who was able to catch it in time.”

WATE News further reported, “It turns out, veterans around the country had similar experiences as Toombs encountered. Cases have been investigated in several states where e-benefits accounts were fraudulently accessed and monthly direct deposits re-routed to banks the veterans had no financial relationship with.”

GAO Testimony

This story was reported two days after the Government Accountability Office reported on VA’s continued failure to fully address vulnerabilities within its IT systems. Four days earlier, VA issued a press release indicating 46,000 veterans were impacted by a significant data breach.

Those affected by the breach would receive a whooping one-year free credit monitoring paid for by the agency. I would guess VA is using some of its astounding $4 billion IT budget to cover the cost.

So what, right? Why doesn’t the agency take more of its $4 billion to simply fix the problem? And, where is the money going for these IT contracts?

Swindled

This all may seem innocuous to some except for the large number of veterans swindled right under VA’s nose. One part of this story, as well as the topic I reported on two days ago about community care providers also being swindled of funds in the same scheme, is the size and sophistication while also seeming trite by rerouting the funds to prepaid debit cards.

The other part is the common thread here between pre-paid card types, whether debit cards or credit cards, when used to illegally funnel money between one entity to another.

In Related News: Fake Political Donors Suspected In Another Possible Scheme

Some of you may have noticed a few headlines from Conservative news websites recently addressing the trend of reportedly unemployed people donating funds using prepaid credit cards making the transactions difficult if not impossible to track.

EXAMPLE: Exclusive: Data shows that half of 2019 donations to ActBlue came from untraceable ‘unemployed’ donors

There is growing suspicion about the use of “straw” donors who may be little more than a few lines of computer code rather than a real person using prepaid cards to skirt the pollical system when it comes to political contributions.

Money laundering schemes using pre-paid cards and other mechanisms is not insignificant. Reuters reports that data from EverCompliant, a U.S.-Israeli electronic money laundering detection and prevention company, “showed that some $500 billion is laundered annually through fraudulent e-commerce transactions over credit, debit, prepaid and other cards.”

In the context of campaign finance, fraudulent fundraising could pose significant threats to the American election process.

In the past, the Washington Post reported on the problem in 2008 addressing the issue of unauthenticated political donations “allowing donors to use largely untraceable prepaid credit cards that could potentially be used to evade limits on how much an individual is legally allowed to give or to mask a contributor’s identity.”

So, this issue of using pre-paid payment systems has been used for some time, and various news outlets have wondered if the fundraising mechanisms were illicit.

It is certainly worth looking into.

Some Past Issues

When you peel back the layers, I can hypothesize how these arrangements may be connected. If you think about it, lax IT security protocol at VA continuously fails to prevent veterans’ data from being exploited in a variety of schemes.

Currently, we know funds are being diverted from veterans and community care providers (doctors) into prepaid debit cards. It is plausible this practice is not just limited to diversion of funds into debit cards either, but also likely other forms of prepaid cards.

We also know prepaid credit cards were previously highlighted by Washington Post, and now Fox News, as being a means by which political parties are receiving funds from potential “straw” donors. It seems possible this mechanism is used by lowlifes within both Republican and Democrat circles and hopefully not a widespread issue.

Are these two issues connected?

Let’s leave that to the relevant law enforcement agencies to decide.

Back To The Backlog

Changing gears.

Since VBMS is one of the systems mentioned in the GAO report, I want to at least address the continued IT security problem that continues to plague veterans.

To get there, it is worth addressing the backstory.

Between 2013-14, many critics, including myself, believed the appeals modernization proposals were flawed and that the money was not being spent properly. I still believe that to be the case, and the persistent backlog problems seem to support my longstanding position.

The backlog served as the driving political force to reform the claims and appeals system that many veterans believe made the process more confusing, not less. It also reduced certain rights veterans previously enjoyed.

So what is going on?

Over the past few years, I have seen various reports and posts from former VA senior officials starting companies aimed at fixing and/or managing the same benefits adjudication systems they were responsible for implementing while at VA.

It does seem curious that many of the same senior VA officials who overhauled the old system to implement the new system later came back to VA after retiring or stepping down to then work at VA in a contractor capacity.

Should we be relying on these individuals to fix the system a second time? Let’s fix VA’s systemic IT problems the right way, right-away, right?

This leads me to my next question.

Is VA Broken On-Purpose?

This is a rhetorical question. I certainly hope the answer is a loud “No, VA is not broken on purpose!”

But one has to wonder why the agency’s IT system continues to have cybersecurity flaws so large that veterans’ data keeps landing in the hands of criminals. If it is broken on purpose, or at least is allowed to remain unfixed in the manner recommended by GAO, who is responsible?

Why is it are the security issues persisting after five years?

Maybe, some day, we will know the answer. Based on the recent GAO report, we know VA has yet to implement many of the IT fixed recommended since 2015.

We know billions in taxpayer dollars have been wasted chasing the pipe-dream that IT will fix our very human problems within VA. The agency needs more accountability, a greater number of employees, and less, not more, reliance on systems as the sole silver bullet fix.

I still remember the numerous hearings former Undersecretary Allison Hickey testified at where she promised, over and over, that implementation of the electronic claims processing system called VBMS would be the magic silver bullet.

Now, we know based on the GAO’s testimony that the agency’s IT systems have not fully completed the VBMS project – – at least not in the way GAO recommended. Did at least someone reasonably know within the agency that the IT projects were not on a correct timetable for perfection?

Since 2015, VA has yet to fully implement VBMS, and it has only implemented one of five recommendation from GAO following audits since that time as recently as testimony delivered last week:

“In September 2015, GAO reported that VA had made progress in developing and implementing VBMS, but also noted that additional actions could improve efforts to develop and use the system. For example, VBMS was not able to fully support disability and pension claims, as well as appeals processing. GAO made five recommendations aimed at improving VA’s efforts to effectively complete the development and implementation of VBMS; however, as of September 2020, VA implemented only one recommendation.”

What is the hold up? Are these delays more to do with robbing from Peter to pay Paul? Are the resultant backlogs simply a way to control paying veterans what we are due?

The IT budget at VA and the federal government is out of control.

Those funds go to projects that can disappear without a trace when one computer is unplugged, so it is significantly harder to track the value when compared to, let’s say, the building of a hospital.

Has our data and the agency’s IT budget become a slush fund for political favors? Are the funds being illicitly diverted going into at least some of the coffers of political insiders? Why are we still struggling to implement a new electronic health record system after spending billions of taxpayer dollars over the past two decades?

What is really going on? Why is no one asking the deeper questions?

We do not know all the answers to these questions, but, if there is any community that is willing to dig in to find the answers, it is the veteran community.

Also, about the 46,000 veterans who are victims not only of the illegal hacking scheme but VA’s own apparent negligence, here is what one veteran said in response to my article two days ago:

“I am one of the 46,000 veterans. When I discovered what occurred, you can imagine how I felt. Of course, no one at the VA cares. They all just shrug their shoulders and say ‘not my fault’ or ‘not my problem.’ This fiasco is just another item to add to the list regarding the ways the VA has made my life worst. I lost all faith in the VA a while ago. I wish they would come right out and say they hate veterans. It is obvious by the way they treat us.” (comment bolded for emphasis).

With all those billions, (VA’s budget is now over $200 billion annually), I am not sure how the agency still continues to disenfranchise veterans like the one I am quoting above.

Please let me know what your thoughts are in the comments below.

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32 thoughts on “Is Veterans’ Benefits Theft Scheme Somehow Linked To Pre-Paid Credit Card Campaign Fundraising Scheme?”

      1. I know that I have mentioned this topic many times on your blog. It is true the VA truly saved my life 24 years ago. And for at least the first 4 years of being in the VA in the Northeast, they were honestly doing their best to invest in and help meet the veterans needs.
        When I saw the numbers of what they have said regarding reducing the number of homeless veterans during the Obama administration, I truly find those numbers hard to believe. From what I witnessed, the VA declined big time during the Obama administration. I just do not get what they are claiming.
        I hope everyone had a great weekend. 👍

      2. While looking from the outside in, a lot of what has been going on and is going on is truly nonsense.
        I mean all the riots, looting, hacking, burning down businesses, arresting people for not wearing masks, and intentional deaths or what one would say reverse death panels. Ask the question? What purpose does this serve? How does having all this hate and discontent solve anything? It doesn’t.
        Take it one day at a time and let it go. Everyone have a blessed week. 🙏🇺🇸🗽

  1. Often, Veteran’s “have control” over the VA sending them notices, and, sometimes how notices are sent. Its possible, or even likely that an email “was” sent, but, its easy to “dismiss” these emails and not read them, or for them to even go into the spam box. The VA sends me bunches of emails…vantage point, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Of course, this is also true with snail mail. Sometimes a real notice gets discarded because it looks like junk mail. We dont know if these notices were sent, if they were disregarded, or if they wound up in the spam folder. The VA, like companies, normally has to have your permission to send “notices”, and those “notices” are often the companies wanting to sell us something. You may have opted out of “notices” because you got tired of spam. This has happened to me before.

      1. Benjamin and all, if you look at the whole picture, it is the federal government aligned with the companies against the consumer.
        Ben, these are the issues that I have been correcting and straightening out for at least the last five years. It is just not the VA. This is happening across the board.

      2. VA Rating structure is truly biased. The CFR needs to be streamlined and revamped. VA rating travels one path. VA sabotages veteran 100% to main that path. Too rigid and compartmentalized. Too politicized.

      3. VA regulations should not include age as being any part of the equation. Yes, I know the federal government bases a lot on age. Life is Life. I had a VA psychologist many years ago make this statement to me. TIME is the answer to all. He is and was right. However, Ben, the VA does not include time in any part of their equation when it comes to them per say. They do not value time period. Kind of hypocritical when it comes to resolving or having established criteria for getting their projects done, i.e., the electronic record system and keeping the Cybersecurity in check. They do not bother. And there are many others. Ben they have zero criteria established for the agency itself and the Congress lets them get away with it. Look at what just happened..this hacking…
        My point is how can they have such rigid criteria within the rating system and even among the benefits and zero structure among the VA employees? They just free flow around and say not my problem and not my fault. And, too the interpretation of the rating system as to what they believe the symptoms should be at each rating level in order to assign the rating is predetermined. Of course they have to have something to go by. This is biased in my opinion and was interpreted by certain medical professionals during a screenshot of time. Isn’t it crazy how they can enact such so called order over the veteran community that grants or approves yes or no; but, they cannot fulfill this order among themselves with getting things done such as this IT implementation? See control over the veterans as to what will and will not be. Population control.
        Though, this is just their interpretation. Interpretation yes of course could be evidence based as to what they think it should be.
        Could be severe. Severity could become even more severe or could shift the other way. System does not account for the other way so they have to determine the outcome themselves. When they predetermine outcome, they use age. Age should not be used in any system. Age falls along the lines as skin color, gender, religion, sexual orientation. Ben, the chronological age is never the same as one’s physical age. By doing this, they could be discriminating big time. Yes it can be taken into account as one ages the body could decline in addition to the conditions. It depends on the person. One size never fits all.
        However, any health whatever is a screenshot of time. System does not account for screenshots of time beyond their established criteria. However, any predetermination is just exactly what it is a predetermination. System functions in black and white. And, this is just not the way the human body operates. Sorry medical folks but not so. Medicine is trial and error anyway. Even with a blood clot, the artery can reroute itself. The body can heal to a degree and too people do develop compensatory skills. It depends what is or has been involved in the development of the building back should any building back have occurred. Then too the person can regress even more from when the initial decision was made. Furthermore, there is the double standard. Strict order to deny or approve when it comes to the veterans. When it comes to them, just look the other way and say not my problem and not my fault. No order among the VA leadership. Just cash it all in to the hackers. I don’t know Ben. Just don’t know. It is what it is.

    1. As per VA ratings and you have even noted this before, with certain
      100 percent ratings one can work if one can work.
      PNT 100% Schedular rating over whatever number of years. Even before the PNT, if veteran has stabilized. One problem Ben, it is too difficult to try to hold any job and receive one’s healthcare in this system. In my case, feasibility did not happen until I left the VA due to my functioning and all else.
      This rating system is subjective.
      Ben, what they do not realize is if a veteran has the desire, the will, and can transition after updating skills, the veterans might would prefer the workforce. System does not allow the transition. Just like I had mentioned earlier, the companies and the federal government are not consumer friendly at all. Both the large companies and the govt might as well be one.
      Consumers vs Elites.

  2. This is no place for ideological conspiracy theories. Deal with facts, relevant evidence, the truth. Doesn’t do anyone any good to go off on unsubstantiated tangents that only adds fuel to the fire. Christ, your comments sound like something right out of the QAnon playbook!

    1. Do not have anything to do with QAnon. I do not follow QAnon.
      They are all to themselves. I do deal with the facts and my own experiences. I have been around for awhile.

    2. Thank YOU GORDON. I was feeling the same way about his comments. But really not worth arguing with. The brainwashed zombies that talk like that will never be changed. Instead of the facts that the VA is allowing our private info to be stolen and SOLD is the problem at hand.

      1. Well, Michael, the VA intentionally dumped veterans information back in fall 2019 into the health exchanges. Do you remember this? VA is all over the place with zero accountability.

    3. “ideological conspiracy theories” ..LOL… Besides science is full of theories but I bet you believe that BS also.
      And neither do I follow the BS from QAnon.

      1. Old Marine,
        I follow Black Conservative Patriot, Just the News, Judicial Watch, OAN, the Blaze, Bill O’Reilly, Mike Huckabee, Federalist, Epoch, Project Veritas, Dan Bangino, Breitbart, Dave Panda, Charlie Ward, Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson, Lou Dobbs, Judge Jeannie Pirro, Sebastian Gorka, Deidre Bolton, Michael Savage, Bill Cunningham, Ken Mathews, and of course Benjamin here.
        America’s First Network radio station.
        Others, Hugh Hewitt, Candace Owens, Dennis Prager;
        Of course, not all at one time.
        Hit and miss occasionally. Best.

  3. This stuff is real!
    On September 23, 2020, U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo delivered a foreign policy speech in the Senate Chamber at the Wisconsin State Capitol “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ge6-ZBZMOI” guest Introductions start @5:ish, Secretary introduction @8:ish, the speech starts @10:ish.

  4. Why would the VA NOT contact a veteran when a change in where their money is to go, comes through? They should check with the Vet. to ensure that the Vet. made the change in direct deposit location. That just makes common sense. A simple call or letter asking, “Did you change your banking information for your benefits check?” Then, at least, we vets. would know that something has gone wrong. PRIOR to not getting our benefits, and we could ensure that our funds go where we need them to go. This is a total CLUSTER F!!!!

    1. I agree with you Michael.
      In the past, they at times would actually do this. How could the VA not have been aware? Benjamin, there is no way that many of them would not have known. Even in the past when I have made changes, I had to prove to them the actual financial institutions during the change. Financial issues originate our of Muskogee, Oklahoma unless they have changed it.

    2. Benjamin, the veteran comment you included in your message with him quoting “not my fault or not my problem”, this is actually the situation. Many may not care or some may care but here is what it boils down too from what I have observed and experienced. For those who may care, the problem is out of their realm. And it is Ben. The VA employees at the bottom are told what to do and they cannot honesty deviate from the top leadership or what is coming down. They are so compartmentalized that they are not allowed to reach or speak out from their own job description. This is due to keeping the Union protections. The system is difficult for most. You have VA psychs hiding in their offices with claiming to be too paranoid for their own good. They are truly scared of this virus. Sometimes I believe the veteran patients should run the VA and put the VA employees as being the patients. Benjamin the system is so difficult to deal with that many VA employees just do not make a decision on anything. And a decision not made is a decision. Most healthcare under the federal government is not medical care. I see many of the politicians being out of touch. And, they may say that about me because I am not in the VA with the care. However, a dinosaur system like that does not change over night and I do not care who the president is. I am all too familiar with the organizational structure and the abuse that I experienced from them in the past. Just population control. In my opinion, the President only knows what he is told. I do not believe the VA employees know what to do except protect themselves. Many of them go along to get along. If any of them stand alone per say to deviate from the herd mentality; and, Ben I have heard you use this terminology before to stand up, those people have to have an endless flow of money in order to counter punch and fight back. Only the common sense VA employee would want to stand up. It goes with saying the problem lies with the military industrial complex with all the Generals. Plus, it goes back to Henry Kissinger and Nixon around the time the Central Banking system was established with the infinite amount of money being printed from then until now. Wars line profits for these generals plus the politicians and plus the defense companies at the expense of veteran lives. Also, many are in bed with China. Even the Walton family has donated to the Democrats. The federal government is too big to manage ethically and efficiently. I do not care who the president is. Strange how they are doing their best to shift to the digital financial system to eliminate the central banking system. In my opinion, this is why the Trump administration created the Space Task Force. Space task force was created for the Quantum Financial System. It is all about shifting to digital dollars. Many in DC have gotten away from what it means to be a real American. They say they know but I do not see that. Yes the President is doing his best and working hard while the Democrats are trying to destroy him and this country. His claims on some issues do not fit the reality. Either he is not informed or he is ignoring the situations because he has to get re-elected to save this country. So when he is in the rallies, he is trying to be as convincing as he can be. Benjamin, I do not see the healthcare industry as a whole serving in anyone’s best interest right now. Just look at the number of healthcare facilities that have engaged in fraudulent Coronavirus diagnoses for money. Many of them have admitted to it. It is just not the VA. Look at all the intentional Coronavirus deaths. The federal government is out of control and it is due to having a legal system that most of the time serves themselves. In all honesty, some of the VA employees who may care may not know what to do so they do nothing but stand by and watch. SAD. Best.

      1. The comment the veteran made was about the VA employees stating as such. Needed to make sure I had distinguished this for my last post.

  5. These four links have several nuggets within and are from the same YTchannel. Some nuggets will be related to CCP technology and those potential threats, a few of which may, or may not, have some direct relationship with Ben’s recent two articles.

    An eye opening short interview @18:06 with Casey Fleming on CCP information database containing US information”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GSLZwTUICw”

    Democrats Promise Retaliation if Trump Fills Ginsburg Seat;Japan’s Direction With Presidential Shift”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6ZnxSVGv7s”

    China’s Huge Influence Database Revealed; Leaked Docs Show China’s Attempt to Keep Companies”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_M_1rqZV6QM”

    China’s Space Weapons, and the Mystery of Its Claimed Economic Growth”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Snw7lSZXCYA”

    1. Benjamin, please help me understand. How can the president make such claims about the VA with what is going on? I am referring to what he is saying in Jacksonville, Florida tonight.

      Also, in regards to law enforcement, the county in Florida where I live has stripped law enforcement officers to lower taxes. Claiming to be saving over 6 million dollars. I do not get the opposite of what is actually happening being spoken by the President. And with the constant fraud attempt attacks. I have been cleaning up and correcting this crap for over 5 years since being denied Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation back in 2015. You would not believe what I have been dealing with. The negligence and crap is unbelievable. And this is not even in the VA. Is it intentional? Is the VA behind all of this? I honestly do not know.

  6. Is the VA broken on purpose? Well, we can’t have a single payer system that is less corrupt than the glorious for profit free market version. Remember.

  7. how can the va cut your IU without any proof or showing me proof they said i worked in 2017 im a disabiled vet and on ss why would i work beside that im 72 finding you guilty before proof BS too.

  8. There is also not much doubt this is going on with retro payments as well. During the past year, my retro payment was “off” by over $49,000. How is it they can not calculate retro “to the nearest 50,000? Is this a “math error”? I cant help but think that’s where my 49,000 went, and, when I complained, they eventually fixed it, but, it does not pass the smell test. I know a lot of Vets either “not get the right retro” or, none at all. I have not yet gotten my retro from a cavc case in 2012. When I pointed this out to them, they said it was because I did not fill out a proper dependency form. Well, the form was not required until March 2015, so the VA “sat on it” 3 years until informal claims were eliminated in 2015. Now, its not possible for me to retroactively file 2012 forms because, the dependents moved and I can not obtain the colleges signatures as this child is now a full adult and I dont have access to his records. I wish we had Allison Hickey back..or someone who could/would troubleshoot these kind of problems that has authority to fix it.

  9. “Reuters reports that data from EverCompliant, a U.S.-Israeli electronic money laundering detection and prevention company, “showed that some $500 billion is laundered annually through fraudulent e-commerce transactions over credit, debit, prepaid and other cards.”
    Look up Brendon O’Connell on utube, since I couldn’t post the links yesterday
    63. SHADOW GATE, STREET RIOTS & ISRAELI TECH
    And 64. UPDATE VIDEO – TRANNY PORN, ROGER STONE, ARMY INTELLIGENCE, SHADOW GATE

    1. Old Marine, I reviewed the information you posted. Ever complaint started seeing major fraudulent e-commerce activity at the start of this virus. Thanks for info.

  10. Podesta
    “to organize a cooking thing”
    Look up …………MARINA ABRAMOVIC SPIRIT COOKING………
    On utube……They are all satanists.

  11. I think the hackers BS is just that BS.
    Well this shit is real, I was awarded a 10% increase sep. 1st never did get it so yesterday after reading your article i called the 800 number on the award letter and she was making all kinds of excuses why I didn’t get it.
    What a bunch of thieves.

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