A 69-year-old Connecticut man was sentenced Monday to three-and-a-half years in prison, followed by three more years of supervised release, for stealing $1.4 million from a veterans charity he organized, according to the Department of Justice.
Kevin E. Creed, who served 24 years as an Army officer and Connecticut State Trooper, established a charity in 2010 called Friends of Fisher House Connecticut with the stated purpose of building and maintaining a Fisher House comfort home in West Haven.
The Fisher House Foundation is a national organization that offers housing for veterans and their families to stay for free while undergoing treatment at Veteran Affairs hospitals or military medical facilities.
Creed solicited donations for his charity from corporations and individuals at fairs, carnivals, supermarkets and half-marathons, according to prosecutors.
“While Friends of Fisher House Connecticut made a $1 million donation in 2015 to assist with the financing of the construction of the Fisher House West Haven, Creed used his position to take approximately $1.4 million that had been raised for the organization and use it for both personal and law firm expenses,” a DoJ press release reads.
Creed, who is still listed as an attorney at Blair Creed Law firm in Bristol, pleaded guilty to wire fraud in August 2019 for embezzling those funds.
Creed is released on a $100,000 bond, but is required to report to prison on Feb. 10, 2021. U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall also ordered Creed to make full restitution of the money he stole.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael McGarry said during sentencing that Creed was welcomed by veterans and their relatives after talking about his military service and his time as a law enforcement officer, the Hartford Courant reported.
“He used his status as a veteran and as a police officer. People are on guard when a stranger comes to the door asking for money,” McGarry said, according to the Courant. “He was named Man of the Year by the Hartford Yard Goats. He posed for photos with congressmen and senators.”
“He took that money and put it in his pocket. He cashed in on his honor," McGarry added.
Fisher House is also suing Creed in civil court. Creed’s defense attorney asked for a sentence of home release, but Judge Hall ultimately dispensed one of the toughest terms she ever imposed in a fraud case, according to the Courant.