ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)– The Albany County Sheriff’s Department says a now former VFW member stole almost $3,000 from his fellow veterans last year.
The thefts were discovered during an audit after the leaders of VFW Post 8444 noticed some irregularities with their finances.
Police say the man accused of stealing the funds, 44-year-old James McGraw of Albany, is a former veteran. His arrest has left members of his post heartbroken but eager to move on.
VFW Post 8444 Commander Mark Rosenzweig didn’t want to believe it, “It’s unfortunate, and it’s a lose-lose for everybody. Everybody is injured by it.”
As acting treasurer, police say McGraw of had been syphoning off funds for 7 months from the Men’s Auxiliary Unit and hiding it from other members. Rosenzweig says McGraw was producing false documents that reflected the stolen money was still available.
Albany Police say McGraw acquired a debit card and slowly withdrew the money.
McGraw is believed to have stolen nearly $3,000, just 8 dollars short of immediate jail time.
Rosenzweig says all of their funds go to support veterans in need, adding that the money could have gone a long way. “Veterans don’t leave their veterans behind, we don’t leave our brothers behind,” Rosenzweig said.
But, Commander Rosenzweig and members are looking forward, hopeful to turn a new page. They are partnering with Albany Public Schools to start a JROTC program.
Mark Rosenzweig says “It’s a great venture for the children of Albany, to give them some mentoring, and it’s a beautiful thing for us.”
Following his arrest McGraw was turned over to Cohoes Police on a warrant for failure to appear for a DWI charge. He is due back in court later this month.
McGraw has also been kicked out of the VFW and barred from the property.