VA executive running 'shameless' charity to retire with full benefits

Benefits being denied to veterans?
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    Benefits being denied to veterans?


Benefits being denied to veterans? 02:58

(CNN)A US Department of Veterans Affairs executive who ran a "shameless" veterans' charity will be allowed to retire with full government benefits.

Thomas Burch, a career lawyer for the Department of Veterans Affairs will retire November 30 with a full pension and lifetime health care, a congressional source told CNN.
Burch was in the process of being fired by the VA after an internal investigation and an investigation by the New York attorney general's office found Burch personally benefiting from donations made to the National Vietnam Veterans Foundation.
The Foundation, which Burch ran, raised more than $29 million in four years but spent less than 2% of that money on actual veterans causes. The New York attorney general's office discovered most of the donated funds went to professional fundraising, and that "the fraction that actually made it to NVVF was further reduced by a pattern of abuse, mismanagement and misspending by NVVF's former president."
    In announcing a settlement which shut down the charity, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued a statement saying, "There is nothing more shameless than exploiting military veterans in order to enrich oneself. The actions of this charity and its founder are appalling."
    Schneiderman has accused Burch of using donated funds to spend lavishly on travel, a yearly salary and other personal benefits, including a severance package the charity awarded him when he stepped down after being exposed by CNN.
    Burch's spending also included payments to women, as well as hotel and nightclubs.
    The VA was unaware of Burch's involvement with the National Vietnam Veterans Foundation until a CNN investigation exposed the VA employee in May. The Department of Veteran Affairs Inspector General launched its own investigation, and last week the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it "immediately initiated the process for Mr. Burch's removal from federal service."