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Founders of film school for wounded Marines stole the money

Image courtesy of the U.S. Marine CorpsA federal jury in San Diego convicted a husband and wife of embezzling federal funds meant to provide job training and equipment for injured Marines returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

From 2007 to 2009, Judith Paixao and Kevin Lombard were directors of the Wounded Marine Careers Foundation, a tax-exempt organization that trained injured veterans for careers in the film industry.

The defendants lied to the VA to obtain funding for training and equipment that never went to the veterans.

Paixao and Lombard used some of the money to pay for a vacation in Bermuda, cell phone bills for their family members, and a New Year’s Day sailing trip around San Diego Bay.

U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said “the fraud committed by these defendants — who used money set aside to help wounded veterans and spent it on themselves — is particularly offensive.”

“These defendants capitalized on the misfortune of wounded Marines in their time of vulnerability . . . [to] enrich themselves,” she said.

Paixao and Lombard claimed to have donated over $200,000 to start the Foundation. Instead, over two years they took more than $400,000 from the Foundation’s accounts.

Among the witnesses who testified at trial were three injured veterans who used their vocational rehabilitation benefits to enroll in the Foundation’s first training class.

Paixao and Lombard remain free on bond.

They’re scheduled to be sentenced on October 19.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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