Ex-Darien bookkeeper sentenced in veterans fraud

Cynthia Tanner, 54, a former employee with the Darien-based National Veteran Services Fund, was sentenced on Friday, April 29, 2016 to two years in jail for embezzling approximately $800,000 from the veterans services organization, and for failing to pay taxes on that income. U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton also ordered Tanner to pay full restitution to the NVSF, and back taxes, interest and penalties in an amount that exceeds $500,000. The judge ordered Tanner to report to prison on Aug. 30.
Cynthia Tanner, 54, a former employee with the Darien-based National Veteran Services Fund, was sentenced on Friday, April 29, 2016 to two years in jail for embezzling approximately $800,000 from the veterans services organization, and for failing to pay taxes on that income. U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton also ordered Tanner to pay full restitution to the NVSF, and back taxes, interest and penalties in an amount that exceeds $500,000. The judge ordered Tanner to report to prison on Aug. 30.Contributed Photo / Contributed

Cynthia Tanner, formerly of Darien, was sentenced Friday to two years behind bars for embezzling approximately $800,000 from a Connecticut-based veterans services organization, and for failing to pay taxes on that income.

Tanner, 54, was employed as a bookkeeper for the National Veterans Service Fund located in Darien.

“The stated mission of the NVSF was to provide case managed social services and limited medical assistance to Vietnam and Persian Gulf War veterans and their families, with a focus on families with disabled children,” Deirdre M. Daly, U.S. Attorney for Connecticut said in a release announcing the sentencing. “From approximately January 2009 through June 2014, Tanner used nearly $800,000 in NVSF funds to pay various personal expenses for her and her family members. She also altered records to conceal her scheme and by falsely claiming that the stolen monies were being paid to veterans in need.”

Tanner, who lived on Stanton Road in Darien, failed to report $794,768.47 in embezzled income on her 2009 through 2013 federal tax returns, resulting in a tax loss of $270,026.

U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton also ordered Tanner to pay full restitution to the NVSF, and back taxes, interest and penalties in an amount that exceeds $500,000.

The judge ordered Tanner to report to prison on Aug. 30.

After Tanner was released she will also have three years of supervised release

In May 2014, Darien police received a complaint from the NVSF. Phil Kraft, the organization's executive director and treasurer, said McEnerney Brady and Co., a New Jersey-based accounting firm, found irregularities in the agency's financial statements, according to police. Police said they quickly determined that Tanner, who has worked for the organization since 2008, had used the company's funds for personal use.

According to the affidavit, Tanner fabricated a financial ledger that indicates the checks were written to veterans or NVSF clients. However, police said Tanner made the checks out to herself and family members.

Tanner also made electronic payments for her car loans and used the agency credit cards for personal expenses, such as airfare, vacations and Internet purchases, according to court documents.

Police found that all of the suspect ledger memos were actual NVSF clients who had received assistance from the NVSF during the last seven years, according to the affidavit. However, the actual checks indicate that she made them out to herself or family members.

Tanner was arrested on related state charges on June 2, 2014. Last December, she pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of tax evasion.

This investigation was conducted by the U.S. Secret Service, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division and Darien Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas P. Morabito.