Former Salem DAV treasurer pleads guilty to stealing from organization

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SALEM, Va. (WDBJ7) - A former treasurer for the Disabled American Veterans chapter in Salem pleaded guilty to five counts of embezzling money from the organization Thursday.

Randy Carlyle Turner, the former treasurer of DAV Chapter 3, was indicted in September for embezzling more than $200 five different times between April 1 through the end of August.

According to Turner's attorney David Damico, Turner admitted to taking roughly $14,700 over the course of five months. Damico said Turner took the money to pay bills.

"He had financial problems. He's very remorseful, he feels terrible," Damico said.

Turner did not have a previous record and this crime was not characteristic of him, Damico said.

"It's one of those sad situations good people find themselves in, not uncommon. The people who know him are shocked that he would do something like that. He freely admitted it and feels terrible."

Damico explained Turner has significant health problems and is disabled, but is committed to trying to raise the money for restitution.

Receiving the restitution is important for the DAV, Chapter 3 Commander Perry C. Taylor, Jr. (Ace) said.

"Because that money goes to veteran services and veteran programs and that's what's really important here, that's what we are about. If we are not helping veterans we are not doing our job here."

Taylor, Jr. said he's happy with the way things have gone so far, but it's not officially over until Turner's sentencing and they get their money back.

"I'm sorry because he is one of our fellow brothers, he's actually a veteran. He stole from his own, we even helped him and he still decided to help himself," he said.

Taylor, Jr. said he would discuss the matter more once Turner is sentenced.

"Believe it or not, I'd like to think we forgive him. He's one of our own but at the same time we just want our money back."

According to Virginia Code § 18.2-111, if the amount embezzled is more than $200 it holds the same consequences as grand larceny, a felony.

The punishment for grand larceny is up to twenty years in a state correctional facility, or at the discretion of the jury or court, be confined in jail for a period of no more than a year or fined not more than $2,400, either or both (§ 18.2-95).

Turner's sentencing is set for April 18 at 11 a.m.