John H. Durham, 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, announced that DERRICK BREWER, 35, of Enfield, was arrested today on a criminal complaint charging him with offenses related to his submission of altered documents to the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”).
As alleged in the criminal complaint, 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 up until September 30, 2020.
The complaint charges Brewer with theft of government funds, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, and making false statements, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.
Brewer appeared today via videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert A. Richardson and was released on a $10,000 bond.
U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
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. Attorney Margaret Maigret Donovan.