(Press release originally issued by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania)

October 21, 2003 - United States Attorney Patrick L. Meehan announced today the filing of criminal charges against two attorneys who allegedly stole from disabled veterans while representing them.

George Guyer Young, III of Media, Pennsylvania is charged in a 21-count Information* with mail fraud, making false statements to the United States Department of Veterans' Affairs, and theft of government property. According to the Information, from August 1998 to April 2000, Young defrauded disabled military veterans, their heirs and the Department of Veterans Affairs by stealing the veterans' benefits, forging the names of their beneficiaries to cash in their life insurance once they died, and concealing these thefts from the Department of Veterans' Affairs by filing false financial accounting forms.

Speroula Fotiades-Alexander, of Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, is charged in a separate Indictment* with 19 counts of theft of government property for looting approximately $109,000 from the accounts of 4 disabled veterans for whom she served as fiduciary. According to the Indictment, Fotiades-Alexander committed these crimes from about July 1993 through April 2001.

"Even a victim's death became a moneymaking opportunity for the defendants," said Meehan. "These veterans served their country proudly only to have their pockets picked in their hour of need. Attorneys are well aware of the laws that protect disabled veterans. We allege that this was a deliberate violation of trust for which the defendants will now be held accountable."

These defendants are charged with abusing a Veterans Administration program which protects the interests of veterans by appointing fiduciary representatives for those veterans who cannot attend to their own affairs. These fiduciaries must comply with all laws and regulations which protect these veterans, including standards for the management of each veteran's account, limitations on the fiduciary's annual fees of 4% of the veteran's benefits, and annual accountings to the VA detailing all expenditures made on behalf of the veteran (for example, room and board, utilities, and medical expenses). When a veteran dies, the fiduciary representative must pay any bills of the veteran's estate, distribute assets to beneficiaries and, if there are no beneficiaries, return all funds to the VA.

Young is charged with defrauding veterans of over $38,000 by using veterans' funds for his own benefit, and then concealing these thefts on the annual accountings filed with the VA. In addition, according to the Information, Young forged the signatures of veterans' relatives when the veterans died in order to take the insurance proceeds for himself. Young administered the financial affairs for 78 veterans, whose assets totaled approximately $1.5 million. For his services, Young's monthly commissions were approximately $5,000.

If convicted of all of the counts charged in the Indictment, Young faces a maximum of 100 years of imprisonment, a fine of $5,250,000 a special assessment of $2,100 and 3 years of supervised release. Defendant Fotiades-Alexander faces up to 190 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $4.75 million, a special assessment of $1,900 and 3 years of supervised release. The VA has terminated both defendants from its fiduciary representative programs.

GEORGE GUYER YOUNG III 1001 East Darby Road Havertown, PA 41
Glen Mills, PA

This case was investigated by the Department of Veterans' Affairs, Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Postal Inspection Service. The case has been assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Floyd J. Miller.

Suite 1250, 615 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
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*An Indictment or Information is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.