Philadelphia veterans in need of support services may have been scammed by the city’s Veterans Advisory Commission, and the District Attorney’s Office is looking for anyone who may have fallen victim to come forward.
On Thursday, the DA’s office asked the public to call their their office if they were asked to pay for any services they received through the Veterans Advisory Commission.
The request came a week after the commission’s former executive director, Scott C. Brown, was abruptly fired.
Congressman Bob Brady told the Inquirer that Brown was fired and his computer was seized by prosecutors, but he did not comment on why the sudden shake-up took place.
DA’s office spokesman Cameron Kline declined to comment on whether prosecutors are investigating Brown or the commission. Brown has not been charged with any crime.
But he did confirm that the DA’s office has recently been inundated with calls from individuals who claim they were charged for services that the Veterans Advisory Commission was supposed to provide for free.
“We’ve received several citizen inquiries over the last couple days,” Kline said.
For example, the Veterans Affairs Commission was intended to help local veterans find housing, access to disability services or connect them with legal services, but some individuals may have been charged with a fee, Kline said. There should have been no charge for these services.
The DA’s office is hoping any individual who may have received an improper bill for any service they received through the Veterans Advisory Commission will contact the consumer hotline at 215-686-9641.
Kline said that individuals who call the line would likely be contacted by an Assistant District Attorney to get more information.
Meanwhile, Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky recently reported that Brown is accused by Veterans Comfort House in West Philly of giving them a check for a $12,000 donation (which he said was "proceeds" from the 2015 veteran's day parade), but the actualy funds never came through.
After the Veterans Advisory Commission’s office was reportedly raided, City Council president Darrell Clarke said Brown’s position was being eliminated as part of a reorganization intended to “provide even more responsive and efficient service,” and said he would provide details on the office’s reorganization in the near future.
Clarke’s office declined to comment on the hotline, but said an update on the planned reorganization of the commission is forthcoming.
Brown could not be reached immediately for comment.
Anyone who paid a fee to receive any type of service from the Philadelphia Veteran’s Advisory Commission is being asked to contact the DA’s Office consumer hotline at 215-686-9641.