OAKLAND – Raj Kumar Ditta pleaded guilty today in federal court to misappropriating and embezzling funds he held as a fiduciary for incompetent and disabled veterans, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Office of Inspector General, Criminal Investigations Division, Special Agent in Charge James Wahleithner. The plea was accepted by the Hon. Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, U.S. District Judge.
In pleading guilty, Ditta, 51, of San Ramon, the owner of Ditta Fiduciary Services, admitted that from 2010 through 2012, he entered into fiduciary agreements with the VA. Under the agreements, he agreed to act as a fiduciary for eight different veterans or beneficiaries that the VA had determined were not competent to handle their own financial affairs. As a fiduciary, Ditta was required to establish bank accounts to receive each beneficiary’s VA income and to ensure the beneficiary’s debts were paid. Ditta admitted that in each case, he set up a separate bank account for the beneficiary and, within months, began syphoning funds from the beneficiary’s account. Ditta moved thousands of dollars to his own personal account and used those funds for his own benefit. In sum, Ditta misappropriated and embezzled no less than $39,500 from the veterans and beneficiaries.
Ditta was charged by Information on May 24, 2019, with one count of misappropriation of funds held by a fiduciary, in violation of 38 U.S.C. § 6101(a), and 15 counts of theft of government money, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 641. Under the plea agreement, Ditta pleaded guilty to the misappropriation of funds count and, if he complies with the plea agreement, the remaining counts will be dismissed at sentencing.
Judge Gonzalez Rogers scheduled Ditta’s sentencing hearing for November 14, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. Ditta faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 for the 38 U.S.C. § 6101(a) violation. In addition, as part of sentencing the court may order an additional period of supervised release and restitution, if appropriate. However, any sentence will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jose Apolinar Olivera is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Jessica Rodriguez Gonzalez. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the VA Office of Inspector General, Criminal Investigations Division.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.