DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado’s American Legion headquarters, which supports military veterans and their families, has been hit by a “significant” internal theft likely totaling more than $125,000, according to a CBS4 Investigation.
“It hurts, it hurts real hard,” said Tom Bock, an Air Force veteran who is now an administrator with the nonprofit veterans group.
The missing money was discovered in June following a routine financial audit. The Denver District Attorney’s office has launched an investigation into the suspected embezzlement.
“There was no break-in, nothing like that. This was very sophisticated. When you trust people, every once in a while you get a rotten apple, okay. That’s what happened,” said Bock.
The American Legion has about 21,000 members in Colorado spread across 160 posts. Member dues and donations help fund the organization. The Legion also raises money from raffles and other fundraisers.
Their goal is to help military veterans and their families through various programs that assist with housing, food and scholarships. They also help veterans filing claims with the government and lobby for veterans causes.
“We’re such a caring organization and our people care so much, to be I guess you could say betrayed and taken advantage of, it hurts,” said Bock.
He said the organization has filed a claim with its insurance carrier over the missing money and has been told they will be covered. So, ongoing programs should not be impacted by the theft, which he says took place over the course of about a year. Bock says the organization plans to stay “on mission” and not be distracted by the theft of funds.
Bock told CBS4 he is optimistic that prosecutors will figure out what happened, who did it and justice will be done.
“We believe in law and order and we have faith in our justice system,” said Bock.