An unnamed veteran in the care of a Department of Veterans Affairs nurse at the Wilmington VA Medical Center lost $$22,320. The cause? His nurse, Alexander Kudla, was stealing from him.
According to public records and statements made in court, Kudla, a New Jersey resident, was tasked with helping withdraw funds from an ATM due to the veteran’s physical disabilities. Between February 2015 and July 2015, Kudla abused the trust of his victim and took money from the his bank account for personal use on more than 40 occasions.
The crime was first discovered by the VA inspector general’s office.
“It is particularly painful when an employee entrusted by VA to care for veterans abuses that trust for personal gain,” OIG Special Agent in Charge Donna Neves told the court. “It's why VA OIG pursues cases like this, so veterans can feel safe in all aspects of their care.”
Kudla was charged with wire fraud, and the Delaware District Court ordered him to pay full restitution to the victim, with $4,000 due immediately. After pleading guilty, he was put on a three-year probation.
“I want to thank the Veterans Affairs Police Service and the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General for their efforts throughout the investigation and prosecution of this case,” acting U.S. Attorney David Weiss stated for the court. “The act of secretly withdrawing his patient’s funds for Defendant’s own personal use is completely at odds with the important position with which he was entrusted.”
According to his federal employee profile, Kudla worked as a VA nurse from 2005 to 2015, though all other information has been redacted. Kudla is no longer employed with the VA Medical Center in Delaware or with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“We take allegations of employee misconduct very seriously, especially when those allegations are related to the welfare of our Veterans,” Vince Kane, director of the Wilmington VA Medical Center said in court. “We are grateful to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecuting this case and we will continue to be vigilant, ensuring veterans receive care and treatment in a safe and caring environment.”
A single act of wire fraud can result in fines and land you in prison for up to 20 years, so it is unclear why Kudla will not face jail time.