Head of Vietnam veteran charity who embezzled $150,000 sentenced to five months

By SPENCER S. HSU | The Washington Post | Published: October 5, 2017

WASHINGTON — The former head of a Washington, D.C., charity meant to benefit Vietnam veterans, who embezzled about $150,000 of donations to spend on women he was involved with, was sentenced Thursday to five months in prison.

John Thomas Burch, 75, of Alexandria, Virginia, who pleaded guilty in June to wire fraud, was the president of the National Vietnam Veterans Foundation until last year. U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson also ordered Burch to pay a $75,000 forfeiture judgment, U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu and FBI Washington Field Office chief Andrew Vale said in a statement.

Burch admitted misappropriating $149,317 of donations marked for veterans' family members with young children in poverty between 2012 and 2016. He gave the money to acquaintances with whom he had relationships, and claimed reimbursements for visits to clubs, meals and hotel stays that were not related to the charity.

Burch had unilateral control over the NVVF's "Emergency Assistance Program," and could pay out $100 to $300 without oversight. The organization disbanded last year.