Houston lawyer gets prison keeping vets' benefits

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Associated Press

Posted on December 20, 2012 at 7:02 AM

HOUSTON (AP) — A Houston attorney who scammed the finances of some veterans must serve nearly four years in prison and repay more than $2.6 million.

A federal judge in Houston on Wednesday sentenced Joe B. Phillips to 46 months behind bars. Phillips in September pleaded guilty to conspiracy to make false statements, misappropriation by a fiduciary and signing a false income tax return.

Phillips was a court-appointed guardian or Department of Veterans Affairs-approved fiduciary for veterans. He must repay nearly $2.4 million to the agency and more than $282,000 to the Internal Revenue Service.

Dorothy Phillips in April pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making a false statement on a tax return. She earlier was sentenced to the same penalty as her husband. Investigators have said the woman gambled extensively at Louisiana casinos.

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