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NYS DVA worker accused of accepting vet gifts

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Posted at 11:34 PM, Feb 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 12:10:33-05

One NYS Department of Veteran's Affairs worker is accused of accepting half a million dollars in gifts from a veteran while she worked as his counselor.

According to the Joint Commission of Public Ethics, Tracy Kinn, a counselor at the DVA office in Buffalo, was given more than $500,000 in cash and other goods from one of her patients, Charles Matie.

It is unclear in the report where exactly these counseling sessions between Kinn and Matie took place. 

Matie, a World War II veteran and Purple Heart Recipient became a client of Kinn's in 2002, according to the report.

The report indicates that shortly after Kinn started working with him, she increased his monthly veterans benefits. Over the course of the next eight years, the report says Matie opened a joint checking account with Kinn, gave her a BMW, changed his will to leave her his estate, and named her the beneficiary on a $175,000 annuity policy.

Two days after Matie's death in 2010, the report indicates Kinn claimed all the money, sold Matie's house and all his personal items online.

We talked to a local attorney at Brown Chiari about this case.

"It certainly sounds like a case where an elderly person was taken advantage of," said Michael Scinta, who specializes in Elder Abuse Law. "Sometimes those who want to take advantage place themselves in a position to do so."

Scinta says the best way to prevent this from happening to someone you know and love is to keep your eyes and ears open, and know who is in your loved ones business.

The report indicates that Kinn denies any wrongdoing and says she was a family friend of Matie's and knew him long before working with him at the DVA in Buffalo. 

An independent hearing will take place to determine the next step in this case.

The full report can be found here