An official with a Veterans of Foreign Wars district that includes Letcher County says he has proof that a 37-year-old Whitesburg man stole more than $25,000 from the veterans organization.
“If I went and swore a warrant out for something as serious as this, I have proof,” said Bruce Ashley, commander of the VFW’s Kentucky District 14, which oversees 11 VFW posts, including Post 5829 at Whitesburg.
Ashley, of Mallie in Knott County, declined further comment about the February 22 arrest of Jeffrey Williams, of Whitesburg, a VFW member and a service technician for AT&T.
“When all this is over and done with I’ll be glad to talk to you about it,” Ashley said, “but I can’t give out any information at this time.”
Williams is charged with stealing a total of $26,408 from the VFW on at least 30 separate occasions beginning August 20, 2017 and ending January 29, 2019.
Williams, who was appointed to the position of “assistant inspector general” by the VFW’s national headquarters in 2018, was arrested by Kentucky State Police at 10:06 a.m. last Friday and charged with 24 counts of criminal possession of a forged check (second-degree), 14 counts of theft by unlawfully taking more than $500, and six counts of theft by unlawfully taking less than $500. The last six counts are misdemeanors. The other 38 counts are felonies.
Williams, who will be remembered by some for his role as jury foreman in the December 2017 murder trial here of James Huffman, is accused of the thefts in a criminal complaint and arrest warrant obtained by Ashley.
In his complaint, Ashley says Williams committed 13 counts of theft by unlawfully taking more than $500 when he forged Ashley’s name on 13 checks, each totaling more than $500, and then cashed them. Ashley says that Williams committed six counts of misdemeanor theft when Williams wrote six checks, each of them under $500, and issued them “either to himself or others without authorization” of the VFW.
A 14th count of theft by unlawfully taking more than $500 is based on Ashley’s claim that Williams “intentionally ran up $4,772.48 in unauthorized credit card transactions through a credit card issued to the VFW.” Ashley said the credit card charges were for the “personal use” of Williams and were made “without approval.”
Williams was released from the Letcher County Jail on the same day he was arrested after a $10,000 property bond was posted on his behalf. He is scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing before Letcher District Judge Kevin Mullins on March 31 at 1 p.m.